Drone use in Tasmania’s national parks and reserves
Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA), also known as Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) and more commonly drones; are defined as ‘an aircraft’. Their operation and use is subject to the requirements of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA); and when used on or over reserved land, governed by the National Parks and Reserved Land Regulations 2009.
Therefore the operation and use of drones on reserved land is not permitted unless a specific written authority from the Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) has been obtained.
Advances in technology have resulted in a rapid increase in the affordability and popularity of drones. The Parks and Wildlife Service (PWS) recognises that much of the land under its care and management will be attractive to drone users on a number of levels, including spectacular scenery and wildlife, wide-open spaces, use for research and management tasks such as monitoring changes to the environment and filming of recreational pursuits.
The operation of drones in PWS reserves raises a number of issues with the potential for a range of negative impacts, including:
- disturbance to wildlife (e.g. raptors, shorebirds, particularly during nesting and breeding season)
- impact on visitor experience (intrusion and nuisance factor – visual disturbance and noise, especially at key visitor sites where drones are known to disturb others and detract from the quality of the visitor experience).
- issues relating to privacy of other park users (unauthorised filming)
- safety issues; including the potential for collision, and drones being flown when it is not safe to do so such as around helicopter operations and during fire management operations.
Personal recreational use of drones in national parks and other reserves managed by PWS is not supported having regard to the safety, wildlife and visitors conflict issues. The PWS is currently developing a ‘Drone’ policy which will include provision to designate areas, based on certain criteria, where personal recreational use of drones will be permitted.
Use of drones to support commercial filming in national parks and reserves managed by PWS will be assessed as part of the commercial filming
application process and, where approved, will require a separate aircraft (drone) authority.
Use of drones to support scientific, management or education purposes will be assessed as part of the application for the particular activity, and where approved will require a separate aircraft (drone) authority.
CASA and RPA (drones):
CASA regulate RPA through the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations [CASR] Part 101.
The CASA rules relating to recreational use of RPA are:
- No formal piloting qualifications required
- Must only operate in line of sight in daylight
- Must not fly closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings or people
- Must not fly over any populous area (includes heavily populated parks)
- Must not fly higher than 400 feet (120 metres)
- Not within 5.5km of an airfield
- Illegal to fly for commercial hire and reward unless the operator holds an unmanned operator’s certificate covering that type of operation.
For further information contact – telephone (03) 6165 4272