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CASA and Australian Laws

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by loabinman, Nov 21, 2013.

  1. loabinman

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    Greetings,

    I am just curious, there is a lot of discussion about not being able to use a Phantom for commercial use, aerial photography and video on various forums. CASA licence requirements are in many ways over the top for lightweight machines used away from people and well away from other aircraft. The new Vision will be a hit and soon every amauter and professional photographer will have one and most will not bother with the CASA system. The issue reminds me of when CB Radio arrived and there was a need to have a licence, in the end common sense prevailed!

    Does anyone KNOW of any person who has been officially warned in any way for using their Phantom or other like drone for sensible commercial use? Has anyone actually heard for certain of anyone being fined or any action being taken for such use......or have they realised the regulations are so far out of date they are powerless to do much.

    Thanks in advance
    Me
     
  2. mroberts

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    You're unlikely to get insurance without an OC.

    My biggest fear would be licenced operators ratting you out - they've ponied up the cash and invested the time, they may not take kindly to someone undercutting them by taking shortcuts.

    The regs are currently being revised and should make things far more reasonable.

    Even the current MODEL regs wipe out almost any urban operation.
     
  3. loabinman

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    I am sure you right, and I can see why they would try and protect their patch..........however my question remains......is there anyone who has been in any way sanctioned by CASA? Rightly or not the operators will soon be over run with hundreds of Vision owners in the lower end of the market regardless of them being licenced........
     
  4. mroberts

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    The guy who flew his Phantom into the harbour bridge is getting some regulatory loving. Not sure to what extent though, but it certainyl soudned like he was going to get at least a stern tlaking-to.
     
  5. Driffill

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    The Australian rules are a little clearer than the US. Currently it is illegal for Phantom/Vision to be flown for commercial purposes unless you are a certified operator. http://www.helitheory.com.au/uav/
    There is quite a few certified UAV operators in Australia, do a quick google search and you'll be able to find the entire list of who is certified (I took note at one within 1km of my house) and all the info on how to become certified. . .
    http://www.casa.gov.au/manuals/regulate ... orm041.pdf

    In short, it'll cost up to $8,600, you will also need to provide documentation on the UAV you wish to operate, including maintenance and safety information.
    The laws are also written to enforce CASA regulations. See http://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2013C ... c358722592. I have that bookmarked on my iPad, but I don't remember the exact section for the specifics about UAVs.
    There is also sites to help you prepare for applying for an operates certificate. http://www.uavsms.com.au/uav-operator/c ... lications/

    Any pro photographer using a UAV illegally may get away with it, but think of it in car terms, imagine a unlicenced truck driver when/if they ever had a accident, the fact they are unlicenced will cause all sorts of bother! and allow any insurance company to deny a claim.
    Now on top of that, if i go fly my phantom for the local real estate and crash it in to a neighbours house while photographing a property, the real estate is up for fines in the tens of thousands of dollars!
     
  6. loabinman

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    Driffil,

    I understand your point and agree with you. As CASA themselves say having regulations that are impossible to implement is not the answer. In the last week I have come across three examples of phantom users who if you read the CASA regulations are breaking them and the Vision is not even out there! Its all very good having a regulation but the fact are that there will soon be hundreds of Phantom or like gizmos flying then what?

    I understand there was to be or is some new regulations in draft form that will simplify the process for commercial use in a restricted way for Phantom type owners....lightweight gizmos.

    As for your comments about "risk". On private rural property, with owners permission below 400 feet, no where near people or livestock.....frankly what is the issue with a separate person spotting as well as always in visual contact? Early in the morning when no people are around, flying straight up and down from a public park a 100 feet or so? Its all about common sense and realising that even a Phantom if it tosses a blade, we have had that happen twice is dangerous and should NEVER be flown where in this event it can fall on anyone or anything at all of value.

    But realty is there are now I would suggest hundreds of "drones" being used for commercial purposes in some way or other and this number is expected to double at the very least yearly. Add the Vision and likely offshoots and copies and its going to be impossible.

    BUT back to the original question, does anyone know what the response of CASA is if they do find someone breaching the "commercial" ban? So far it seems there is no example. Yes fools flying over fires and people, crashing into the Sydney Harbour Bridge need to be stopped, the person photographing a rural house on a 1000 acre property........I am not sure what "real" safety issue there is.
     
  7. martcerv

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    The commercial licensing thing has nothing to do about safety its purely a money grab, just because someone has a license doesn't make them any safer. Fair enough they will know what they can and cant do but if there are some things you are permitted to do but then the exact same thing is not legal if you charge money for it safety is not really the issue there is it.

    I prefer to not pursue the commercial side as I dont agree with all the bs that goes along with it and don't see it ever being a full time job or worth the cost and risk. The funny thing is that someone that pays big money upfront will be more of a risk as they will fly much more trying to make a profit which includes having to recover the costs of equipment and licensing. Sure they may have a license and insurance but that makes them no safer just that damage they cause is less of their responsibility and covered by insurance if flown within regulations.

    Every Tom Dick and harry could go through the licensing process and likely their skill levels will still be way below many hobby users, they will fly much more to try and somehow make a profit and quite likely cut as many costs as possible if not much work is coming their way. The thing with all aircraft is that its not only pilot skill but also things can fail at any time just as likely on a full size heli then a small lightweight UAV. These are banned from filming events but full sized helis can do so and risk many more peoples lives, the Flying I saw at Flemington during the Melbourne cup with over 100,000 people below them Id call extremely high risk and this would be much safer for all if a smaller drone was used instead. How many professional pilots have killed innocent civillians along with themselves and passengers in the past, how many small UAV drones have killed people?
     
  8. phantomagent

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    I've just joined the group out of pure frustration!! You asked if anyone had been warned by CASA. I got a phone call last week from CASA who threatened to fine me. I'm a real estate agent and have been doing real estate photography (and more recently videos) professionally for about 6 years. I've got a 7m pole/tripod for doing elevated photos but wanted to get some mid range video (about 10m) that wouldn't look any good with a tripod. I bought a phantom and a zenmuse gimble and it worked famously. My intention was to only use it for the properties that I personally listed. I did a video of a home and one of the 'aerial photographers' who lived locally dobbed me in to CASA. I've since been on a 'mission' to find the most cost effective way to be able to do it. Getting a full Operators Certificate seems ridiculous for the 8hours a month that i would be using it for. I spoke to a company who already has their OC and they said there would be a possibility that I could get a Controllers Certificate and then be registered under their OC. The catch was, they wanted to charge me $1000/day or a flat $3600 per month. I'm going to hunt around and see if there's any other companies that would ofeer the same service but cheaper. What would be good would be if someone got an OC based on using phantoms then we could all get Controllers Certificate and work under their OC :) Any Takers?
     
  9. martcerv

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    That kind of proves my point, the CASA laws against commercial usage do nothing for safety but only push the price of using a toy quad for some part time casual work completly out of making8ng any financial sense. CASA or the gov wants a large chunk of change and other existing operators want to continue charging super inflated prices.

    If there was a more reasonable way of getting approval for comercial use for people that woukd just do this part time then those charging $1000's of dollars for a couple hours work would actually need to step up their game to justify their service and pricing.

    The current regulations and costs would force you to fly much more then you want to in order to make a profit and therefore being more of a risk because the more hours in the air the more likely something will go wrong. It just proves that this bs has zero to do with safety and everything to help others make lots more money then they really should be. I thought when you did something commercially you payed tax and charged gst so this should be enough for the gov's cut surely. If they were so concerned about safety they would make a very affordable course and certification system so all those interested in doing this would have easy acces to all the training needed and not just keep it in the rich kids club.

    Such a course and certification system should be run as a non profit service if safety was their major concern and not purely getting as much money out of people as possible and limiting what may be valuable information and training to all by silly pricing.
     
  10. loabinman

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    Its all very interesting.......

    I would love to see CASA justify its actions in this area. Its primary purpose under legislation is to protect public safety and in parts of the legislation, in regard to fines it clearly states that any penalty or fine imposed is to be based on the safety breach and that commercial issues are not to be considered. When you consider the use of a Phantom in an area where there are no people, and no building of value, a farm or olive grove as an example oo a house in a street where the Phantom is above a park or vacant area of land, what are the safety risks??

    The example of the bushfire video and that of the person hitting Sydney Harbour bridge are where CASA needs to make known the issue but a real estate agent photographing a 5 acre property from 200 metres.........

    In a recent address a member of CASA said that the current legislation was almost useless, the cat is out of the bag and there is no way they will stop this growth. What they need to do is set up a simple registration system and get people on side for these small quadcopters.

    Cheers
     
  11. Meta4

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    This looks like a rare victory for common sense. It seems that CASA now realise that small UAVs are everywhere, that they are not a big hazard and they don't want to bother with all that regulation .

    CASA is proposing amendments .. read the details here.
    http://www.casa.gov.au/scripts/nc.dll?W ... =PC_102028
    The key changes proposed seem to be ....

    CASA has conducted a risk assessment for small RPA of 2 kilograms and below and has established that such RPA have a very low kinetic energy, pose very little risk to aviation and have a low potential for harm to people and property on the ground and other airspace users. This risk based framework has determined that the operation of small RPA will maintain an acceptable level of safety due to the reduced level of risk posed by the low weight and the imposition of a strict set of operating conditions.

    CASA’s preferred option for change
    RPA of 2 kilograms and below have a very low kinetic energy, pose very little risk to aviation and have a low potential for harm to people and property on the ground and other airspace users, provided they are operated under the Standard RPA Operating Conditions.
    Thus, CASA’s preferred option for change is Option 3 - Division of RPA by weight, where only RPA greater than 2 kilograms require a CASA approval.
    CASA proposes that RPA of 2 kilograms and below will not require approval via a UOC, nor will the operator require an RP certificate when operating in standard RPA operating conditions only.

    Standard RPA Operating Conditions:
    • Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS). An operation in which the remote crew maintains direct visual contact with the RPA, only aided by spectacles or contact lenses (not binoculars or telescopes etc.) to manage its flight and meet separation and collision avoidance requirements
    • Less than 400 feet above ground level (AGL) and over water
    • In non-populous areas, including more than 30 metres from any person not directly involved in the operation of the RPA
    • Day Visual Meteorological Conditions (VMC), i.e., day time operations only
    • Outside of controlled airspace (OCTA), including outside of prohibited and restricted areas
    • Greater than 3NM (5 kms) from an aerodrome boundary.

    CASA acknowledge that this will annoy those that have spent so much to comply with the current regulations but figure it's better to get real now while there are only 100 of them.
     
  12. Phantom_Menace66

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    It might be a poor analogy, but i liken it to the myriad of lycra-clad cyclists that use public roads. Many (not all) blatantly ignore road rules and regulations, yet are free to use the same roads, unlicensed and unchallenged, whereas motor vehicle owners are required to pay license and registration for the privilege.
    My point being, even if they imposed laws to license bicycle riders, there are so many it would be almost impossible and very costly to enforce. Same thing will happen with quad copters, there will be thousands of them soon & it will be difficult to police. I read an article the other day that claims there are in excess of 2000 DJI products alone taking to the skies over Australia already...