CASA extends deadline for submissions to drone review

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) given interested parties another week to get their submissions in to its review into commercial and recreational operations of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), or drones.

The deadline for public comment to its discussion paper has been pushed back to Friday, September 29, CASA said in a statement on its website. It was previously September 22.

“In response to requests from the aviation community, we’ve extended the deadline for feedback on our drone safety review discussion paper,” CASA said on Wednesday.

CASA opened submissions for its review into commercial and recreational operations of remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), or drones in August, following the terms of reference being set out in June.

In a discussion paper, CASA noted there were about 50,000 drones used in Australia currently, mostly for sport and recreational purposes.

Further, it said the RPA sector had achieved enormous growth globally in recent times, as advancements in drone technology lifted commercial and recreational consumer demand and the cost of these aircraft continued to come down.

Along with other aviation regulators around the world, CASA said it too faced the task of maintaining high levels of safety without “unduly constraining commercial opportunities to use a technology capable of a multitude of beneficial humanitarian, economic and recreational applications”.

CASA said there have been more than 800 responses to the discussion paper submitted so far.

The terms of reference for the review showed CASA would consider among other matters the safety benefits and cost effectiveness of introducing mandatory registration, education and training for all RPAS operators, as well as the deployment of geofencing capabilities for these aircraft.

The review also aimed to look at the “effectiveness of CASA’s operating model with respect to the regulation of RPAS” amid what is a growing industry.

The discussion paper can be read in full on the CASA website.

CASA’s review is separate to Federal Parliament’s look at the rules around the use of drones, which is being conducted by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee.

The aviation safety regulator published a video on its “Can I Fly There?” app that was launched in May 2017 on its YouTube channel.