As the New Year kicks into gear, now is a good time to quickly recap on a few key points when it comes to Australian drone fines and penalties. While Australia is a great country to fly drones in, there are quite a few rules to be mindful of. Breaching these can lead to significant consequences.

Key points:

  • A breach of Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations (CASR) will expose you to a court-imposed fine of up to $10,500 or an administrative penalty of up to $1050. By way of example, in 2018 a man was fined $1050 for flying his drone over Brisbane’s Ed Sheeran concert.
  • Recklessly operating an unmanned aircraft in a way “which endangers the life of another person, or endangers another person or another person’s property” may lead to a prison sentence of up to 5 years (for endangering another person’s life) and up to 2 years “for otherwise endangering another person or another person’s property”. We are not aware of any examples of prosecutions.
  • There are a broad range of other ways in which you can potentially land yourself in hot water. These include flying too close to marine mammals and flying over private property. Flight Safety Australia has helpfully produced this extended list of ways that your drone flying can land you in trouble.

Australia’s drone laws are evolving to keep pace with rapid advancements in drone technology, and it is expected that rules will be tightened in the not too distant future. As key changes are made, we will do our best to provide updated information.

Find out more about Australia’s recreational drone flying rules here and about Australian drone rules more generally here.

If you require information about drone rules in other countries, check out this helpful page courtesy of UAV Coach.

If you require information about where you can and can’t fly in Australia, take a look at CASA’s ‘Can I fly there?’ drone safety app.

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Feature photo by CASA.