Drones Taking Agriculture Sky High 22 May

Size matters

Generally, the weight of your drone will determine the rules that apply in your situation.

For drones that are:

  • 250 g or less (micro)
  • more than 250 g, but not more than 2 kg (very small)

You must:

  • get an operator accreditation – it’s free and lasts for 3 years
  • register your drone before its first flight – it’s free to register drones that are 500 grams or less, and registration is valid for one year
  • operate within the drone safety rules (standard operating conditions) at all times.

For drones that are:

  • more than 2 kg, but not more than 25 kg (small) that are only operated over land owned or leased by the drone owner

You must:

For drones that are:

  • more than 25 kg, but not more than 150 kg (medium) that are only operated over land owned or leased by the drone owner

You must:

Rules apply when you fly

It’s important you know the rules that apply when you fly.

While size matters, how you intend to use your drone is just as important in determining the rules that apply when you fly.

The drone safety rules (standard operating conditions) apply to all operators.

We’ve published an easy to use guide that explains the standard operating conditions. It’s free to download or you can buy a printed copy from the CASA Online Store.

Provided your agricultural operations can be conducted in accordance with the standard operating conditions, you don’t need any further approvals or permissions from CASA.

If you’re spraying crops, inspecting farming infrastructure over extended areas or mustering cattle from afar, these types of complex operations come with an increased risk to people, livestock, property, and other airspace users. Additional training and flight authorisations are required for complex operations that include:

  • extended visual line-of-sight (EVLOS)
  • beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS)
  • swarms (more than one drone)
  • aerial distribution or spraying.

Extended visual line-of-sight (EVLOS)

EVLOS operations are where someone else other than the remote pilot has the responsibility of observing the drone and the surrounding airspace for hazards.

To fly EVLOS, you must:

We’ve recently made changes to the minimum requirements to conduct EVLOS operations. Under these changes, EVLOS remote pilots no longer need to pass the instrument rating exam (IREX).

Beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS)

BVLOS operations are where the remote pilot is not using their visual line-of-sight to operate the drone instead using technology and procedures.

To fly BVLOS, you must:

We’re also developing a new BVLOS exam and aeronautical standards that will replace the need for operators to pass the IREX in future.

/Public Release. View in full here.