CASA and the UAV Industry

CASA stands for ‘the Civil Aviation Safety Authority”. The CASA’s role is to govern and administer aviation in Australia. That means everything from Jumbo jets and regular passenger transport aircraft, right down to UAV’s and flying models fall under CASA’s umbrella.
In fact casa’s mission statement is “To enhance and promote aviation safety through effective safety regulation and by encouraging industry to deliver high standards of safety”

To get into the UAV/RPA industry, you will be doing so through various tiers of certifications issued to you and or your business by the CASA, so it really does pay to get to know the institution, its players, the helpers, the hinderers and the system itself.

If you go to the CASA website you may find it difficult to get the information you are looking for as it contains constantly up dated information and the shear volume of info is astounding.

So lets simplify things for a moment.

CASA are responsible for the regulation of all airborne ‘operations in the country, which will include YOUR UAV business.
Basically, it is CASA who give, and its CASA who take away. Once you qualify for the issue of a UAV controllers certificate, and or UAV operators Certificate, its is CASA who give it to you. Should you come afoul of the regulations in someway, and operate illegally etc, it is CASA who will issue fines and possibly remove your privileges.

CASA wrote the rules governing UAV’s back in 1998, well before the technology we have available today, was even thought of.
Its for this reason that the current rule structure doesn’t really fit with current operations. Rules like the ’30 Meters from people or buildings” for example, is a rule designed to keep fast moving, heavy, petrol powered fixed wing aircraft at a safe distance from the general public. The rule makers did NOT have small multi rotors in mind when they wrote those rules, so it is little wonder that it doesn’t quite fit with what we are trying to do these days.
CASA are currently reviewing the rules, the oversight and the regulation of UAV’s and are indicating they want to simplify the process for certifications, and also relax some of the rules we are currently bound by.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, the wheels turn slowly, so the changes will take time, and when they do come, it will always be a compromise between what the Industry wants, and what the CASA feel is a safe level of oversight.