Brigadoon - An Occasional Corner on the Internet
Designed by Mark Little
When planning a recreational drone flight, it is important that the flight plan takes into account the fact that recreational drones are not permitted to come within 30 metres of buildings, boats or cars that could be occupied.
Ensuring people stay inside the building, boat or car during an over-flight is not enough for the recreational drone flight to be allowed.
An email from the CASA Aviation Group (04-Oct-2018) confirmed that the building, boat, car, etc. must be positively known to be empty of people before an overflight is permitted.
When Wanting to Overfly a Building, Boat, Car
Keeping a Flight Log Book
Do I need Insurance?
The Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR 1998) relating to the operation of a RPA in Australia do not require insurance coverage. However, it should be understood that the drone operator, and perhaps the owner, may be held accountable for any damage or injury caused by the drone.
The blades of the drone are sharp edges and can spin at high speeds. This means that it can easily damage objects and/or injure people if struck. Some drones are heavy (>2kg), so the force of an impact caused by a falling drone may also cause damage and/or injury.
Recreational drone users are not required to keep a flight log, but it recommended that a flight record is kept for each drone.
The log should, at least, record the date and time of the flight, the geographic boundary of the flight, a note that any overflights of buildings, boats, cars, etc. were only done after a positive conformation that they were empty, and notes about any significant events that may have occurred. Each flight in the log should be signed by the drone pilot.
Given that not following the regulations can result in a hefty fine, a flight record may prove useful in refuting any claims of wrong doing, at some time in the future.
Other Flight Considerations
Recreational Drones flight under visual flight rules. That is, the drone pilot must be capable of viewing the drone without the aid of binoculars, head-sets or other assistance (except for prescription spectacles and/or sun glasses). This means that the drone should not fly in fog, rain or blowing dust if there is a chance that the pilot will lose sight of the drone. This also means that the drone flight should not drop down behind obstructions such as trees or hills such that the drone is not visible to the eyes of the pilot.
Although the pilot must view the drone by eye, this does not stop other team members from using binoculars, head-sets or other aids to support the pilot.
Because many drones are not waterproof, flying in mist and rain can have detrimental consequences for the drone. Flying in dust is also not recommended as the dust can cause damage to fast moving parts like the motors and blades.
Be very careful of allowing pets in the flight area of the drone as they may either be scared of the noise, or attempt to attack the drone when it is close to the ground. The presence of large birds of prey in the potential flight area should be considered, as attacks for raptors such as the Wedge-Tailed Eagle to attack drones in flight - with potentially bad consequences for the bird and the drone.