Drone Operation and Management

Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs) or Drone Operation and Management at UNSW
 
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPASs; in short drones) are being utilised in UNSW for diverse applications such as surveying, remote sensing, construction, infrastructure inspections, environmental assessment, mineral exploration, agriculture, film making, aerial photographing and wildlife research, to name a few. Drone operations in the Australian airspace is regulated by the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) according to Commonwealth legislation.
 
Depending on the nature of the operation, piloting a drone for UNSW purposes may be seen as a 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 are provided by Research Ethics & Compliance Support Unit. Drone use at UNSW is outlined in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Procedure.
 
Piloting drones >2kg or drones <2kg but outside CASA-specified standard operating conditions (SOCs) requires a CASA issued remote pilot license (RePL) and ReOC. Operating drones <2kg under CASA's standard operating conditions (SOCs) is excluded from the above requirements. For all drone operations, pilots are required to contact the Research Ethics & Compliance Support Unit (drones@unsw.edu.au) for a safe operation and compliance induction and to register pilots' details and drones' data for insurance purposes prior to operations.
 
As of 30 September 2020, all drone users are required to register their drone. UNSW drone users/pilots  must provide their drone details to RECS (drones@unsw.edu.au) who will register the drone under the UNSW ARN. 
 
In addition, drone users (excluding those holding RePL) are required to complete the accreditation via the myCASA portal. Detailed information can be found on the CASA website.
 
The UNSW RPAS Operation and Management in Moodle will continue to be used as the central storage location for flight and maintenance logs, RPAS operation and management related documents (e.g. ReOC, Ops Manual and Ops Library) and other support materials (e.g. guidelines for safe RPAS operations and aviation regulation compliance and shared RPAS operation experience and tips).
 
Please note that as of 10 October 2020, CASA have implemented important changes to record keeping relating to drone operation. These requirements are detailed in Chapter 10 of the Part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS). Notably, information relating to drone logs, remote pilot log and technical logs for example must be kept in an electronic and unalterable state, for a period of no less than 7 years and be produced upon written request.
 

Note that the UNSW Kensington campus lies within the 5.5km from Sydney airport boundary. Any drone operations within this space requires written approval by CASA. The appropriate form to complete is Form 101-09 Application for RPA Flight Authorization (Area Approval/Permissions). CASA will seek additional assessment from Airservices, meaning the review can take time. There is also no guarantee that permission will be granted. Applications should be submitted via the Research Ethics & Compliance Support Unit. External licensed operators need to apply under their own licence and submit the approval for noting to drones@unsw.edu.au prior to the approved activity.

For overarching UNSW Guidelines regarding return to campus please visit https://www.covid-19.unsw.edu.au/.

 

Flying drones under 2kg within standard operation conditions*

Also referred to as “excluded operations”

Before flying, you must complete the following requirements:

  1. Obtain your own Aviation Reference Number (ARN)
  2. Successfully complete CASA accreditation course via myCASA portal
  3. Email RECS (drones@unsw.edu.au) and provide the following prior to drone operation:
    • A copy of the CASA accreditation certificate of completion
    • If the drone is owned by UNSW, provide the following drone details which will be sent to UNSW insurance and used to register the drone under the UNSW ARN:
      • Controller Name
      • Manufacturer
      • Serial Number (MSN Number)
      • Maximum take-off mass (kg)
      • Condition
      • Year of Manufacture
      • Drone Purchase Price (AUD)

Please do not register the drone yourself, this must be done by the RECS unit (drones@unsw.edu.au) as per the process above.

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. The UNSW Drone Risk Management Form can be accessed here.

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

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All other operations

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

Before flying, you must complete the following requirements:

  1. Obtain your own Aviation Reference Number (ARN)
  2. Obtain Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) 
  3. Email RECS (drones@unsw.edu.au) and provide the following prior to drone operation:
    • Details of the RePL
    • If the drone is owned by UNSW, provide the following drone details which will be sent to UNSW insurance and used to register the drone under the UNSW ARN:
      • Controller Name
      • Manufacturer
      • Serial Number (MSN Number)
      • Maximum take-off mass (kg)
      • Condition
      • Year of Manufacture
      • Drone Purchase Price (AUD) 
  4. Contact the UNSW Chief Remote Pilot and Maintenance Controller, Dr Yincai Zhou (drones@unsw.edu.au) for competency assessment and authorisation.
  5. Complete a Job Safety Assessment (JSA) prior to any drone operation under the ReOC and submit to the Chief Remote Pilot and Maintenance Controller for approval (drones@unsw.edu.au).

Please do not register the drone yourself, this must be done by the RECS unit (drones@unsw.edu.au) as per the process above.

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. The UNSW Drone Risk Management Form can be accessed here.

 

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Contacts

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

Dr Ted Rohr M: 0417 844 054

Ms Sam Husakovic T: 02 9065 8520

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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.

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