Drone Operation and Management

Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) or Drone Operation and Management at UNSW Australia

Today, Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs; in short drones) are used for diverse purposes such as aerial mapping, remote sensing, terrain modelling, engineering inspection, construction monitoring, environmental assessment & monitoring and more. Their outdoor operation in the Australian airspace is regulated by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) according to federal legislation.

Piloting a drone for UNSW purposes is seen as commercial activity by CASA. Accordingly, UNSW holds a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate (ReOC; ARN: 829135) overseen by the CASA-certified Chief Controller and Maintenance Controller, Dr Yincai Zhou, School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Policy and administrative support is provided by Research Ethics & Compliance Support.

Operators of drones >2kg or drones <2kg but operating outside CASA-specified conditions need to become CASA-certified controllers. All drone operators, including those of drones <2kg, should contact Research Ethics & Compliance Support on E: drones@unsw.edu.au for an induction to the UNSW Drone Operations Manual by the Chief Controller and to register their drones for insurance purposes prior to operations.
 

Note that the UNSW Kensington campus lies within the 5.5km airspace controlled by Sydney airport air traffic service. Any drone operations within this space require written approval by CASA. Applications should be submitted via Research Ethics & Compliance Support.



Legislation and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

The operation of drones in Australian airspace is regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998Additional CASA information on drone operations and licence requirements can be found here.

Flying drones under 2kg within standard operation conditions*

Also referred to as “excluded operations”

Before flying, you will need to provide the following to drones@unsw.edu.au:

  1. Aviation Reference Number (ARN)
  2. “RPAS Notification – Confirmation” email from CASA
  3. If the drone is owned by UNSW, the following information. Details will be provided to UNSW insurance.
    • Controller Name
    • Drone Make/Model
    • Drone Serial Number (MSN Number)
    • Maximum take-off mass (kg)
    • Condition
    • Year of Manufacture
    • Drone Purchase Price (AUD)

Note that a Risk Assessment is to be submitted to the Head of School via your supervisor. Please contact your Health and Safety Manager for any required assistance.

Once the above requirements have been met, induction and assessment will take place with the Chief Controller and Maintenance Controller, Dr Yincai Zhou.

*Definition of Standard Operation Conditions (SOC) can be found here

All other operations

This includes flying drones under 2kg but not within SOC, or drones heavier than 2kg.

Before flying, you will need to provide the following to drones@unsw.edu.au:

  1. Aviation Reference Number (ARN)
  2. Remote Pilot Licence (RePL)
  3. If the drone is owned by UNSW, the following information. Details will be provided to UNSW insurance.

    • Controller Name
    • Drone Make/Model
    • Drone Serial Number (MSN Number)
    • Maximum take-off mass (kg)
    • Condition
    • Year of Manufacture
    • Drone Purchase Price (AUD)

Note that a Risk Assessment is to be submitted to the Head of School via your supervisor. Please contact your Health and Safety Manager for any required assistance.

Once the above requirements have been met, induction and assessment will take place with the Chief Controller and Maintenance Controller, Dr Yincai Zhou.

Contacts

Enquiries related to controller certification or drone operations should be made by contacting drones@unsw.edu.au

Dr Ted Rohr T: 02 9385 4235

Dr Paul Sou T: 02 9385 6868