The Civil Aviation Safety Authority
(CASA) says the unprecedented number of applications to operate drones
commercially is inundating.
CASA refers to drones as remote
piloted aircrafts (RPAs) because of the human element that controls and
oversees them. But they are also referred to as unmanned aircraft systems (UAS)
or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).
In some difficult and expensive
regional parts and remote areas of Australia they are becoming increasingly
According to CASA spokesman, Peter
Gibson drones are used in mining, agriculture, fire brigades, by police forces,
aerial photography and survey work among other areas with about 200 approved
operators in Australia. He says that the applications people are putting them
to keep broadening all the time. There are about 30 odd applications at any
given time which are progressively approved in the growing Australian aviation.
possibilities in use of drones
A research was done by CSIRO in 2010
to find out whether drones could make cattle mustering more efficient and
cheaper. Dr. Dave Henry, the principal research scientist said the project
involved equipping a drone with a thermal camera so that they can locate
livestock in large rangelands in Queensland. He said the aim is to be able to
muster all the animals at key times of the year. He further said that if they
can locate the animals before mustering, then they can orgnise their
helicopters and crews to be in the right place at the right time. Dr. Henry
said the CSIRO was now looking at how the tool could be used more broadly.
Broome resident Shayne Thomson has
been using a drone recreationally for the past 12 months. However, his vision
is the usage of drones in planning and environmental purposes.
He has taken his drone to Gantheaume
Beach. He said he used the drones for fun and therefore did not need a license.
However, he warned recreational users should take a commonsense approach saying
the main thing is to fly within the rules and regulations by CASA because if
everybody does that, then people will be able to continue using these for recreational
governing recreational drones
'leading the charge' in controlling use
According to Mr. Gibson said those
using a drone for commercial purposes in Australia must obtain an operator's
certificate from CASA. He said that Australia was leading the charge despite
CASA fighting to keep up with the number of applications to be processed.
"We're one of the first
countries in the world to actually have a set of rules covering and allowing
for commercial remotely-piloted-aircraft operations," he said.
He went on to say that countries
like the United States haven't actually got this, so Australia is very lucky to
put those rules into place more than 10 years ago. However, he was quick to
note that keeping up is the challenge.
Most recent designs include small
quads with helicopter-like blades, and light toy-like planes operated by remote
control and sometimes even monitored with cameras fitted to goggles so that
from a great distance the operator can see where they are flying.
Depending on the model and use of
the drone, there are various heights, weights and licensing conditions set out