Airservices is Australia's air navigation service provider - we provide air traffic control, aviation rescue and fire fighting and air navigation services.

Unmanned Aerial Systems in controlled airspace

Airservices is committed to facilitating the successful entry of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) into controlled airspace in a staged process that integrates with manned operations. Consistent with this goal, Airservices continues to participate in the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) UAS Sub Committee.

CASR 101 requirements

Where CASR 101.080 requires permission from air traffic control these will be granted via CASA through a Letter of Agreement, for short event operations these will be granted by email. Visit Flying drones/remotely piloted aircraft in Australia for more information.

Operations near controlled aerodromes

For UAS operations outside 3NM (5.5KM) from a controlled aerodrome boundary at or below 400ft above ground level, Airservices does not require specific notification. Submission for operations in this areas should still be made to CASA via the RPAS office. The exception to this is where CASA and Airservices believes there is a higher risk to aviation due to proximity to helicopter landing sites and runway approach and departure paths.

Operation in controlled airspace

Airservices is unlikely to approve commercial operations for UAS operations within 3NM (5.5KM) of a controlled aerodrome boundary due to current restrictions to the application of separation standards to UAS and manned aircraft. The priority for air traffic control at controlled aerodromes is contained at Aeronautical Information Publication Australia (AIP) ENR 10 Regulation Of Flight – Assessment of Priorities.

Air traffic control provides clearances into controlled airspace to a large range of aviation airspace users. As such, it is incumbent on UAS operators to provide evidence to CASA and Airservices that the UAS can comply with similar airworthiness, pilot training and organisational requirements to current airspace users so that separation standards and procedures can be applied universally with no disadvantage to any airspace user.

In addition to CASA requirements, Airservices needs the UAS/drone/remote pilot to be equipped with;
•    air band VHF radio
•    ground to ground telephone communication
•    transponder Mode A/C/S in surveillance airspace
•    ADS-B 1090 Out, where mandated
•    barometric altimetry

Note: some of these requirements may be waived when operating in VLOS at or below 400 feet above ground level.

Operational concept – Management of RPAS in ATM operations

As an important step to the integration of RPAS within controlled airspace operations, we have produced the Management of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in ATM operations – Operational concept document which details our approach to the management of unmanned operations and forms the basis of current and future developments by which we intend to foster growth in the RPAS sector.

We are committed to an inclusive approach to the safe integration of RPAS operations and recognise the opportunities and challenges that the RPAS sector generates. We are committed to the immediate and longer term programs of work necessary to align systems and processes with the needs of RPAS operators.

More information

Maps for planning and coordination with air traffic controllers