The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) should be highly commended on releasing the “ can I fly there ” app removing the need for interpretation in where unlicensed drone pilots can fly. The same rules don’t apply for certified drone operators and use of the “ can I fly there ” app will sell your business short.
The ” can i fly there ” app is based around the excluded drone category rules. Since the release, there has been confusion on exactly where certified operators can operate flying under a Remote Operators Certificate. For example.
A client calls to conduct a job within Sydney harbour, checking the “ can if fly there ” app a “no fly zone appears for a restricted area.
Restricted airspace, active or not, is shown as a no fly zone in the CASA “ can I fly there ” app. Certified operators should be trained to the level of being able to understand if restricted airspace is active or not. If the restricted airspace is not active, the airspace reverts to uncontrolled. If the restricted airspace is active, such as Sydney harbour, approval can easily be gained to operate in the area
The procedures in the operations manual of a Remote Operator state how flights should be conducted around an uncontrolled aerodrome. The restrictions in the CASA “ can I fly there ” app, with regard to heliports with an instrument approach do not apply, nor do the additional height restrictions or extra distance applied to departure and approach.
The weather information in the CASA “ can I fly there ” app is uncertified at best, 16 gusting 26knots 5km away on inspection shows a wind of 11knots well within limits of most aircraft when conditions were most certainly unsuitable.
Professional operators should invest in an electronic flight bag such as Avplan (which app should I use) Any good training organisation has spent considerable time explaining the methods to ensure drone operations are safe in all areas. Relevant maps/charts and frequencies explained and support provided in the background for those trickier situations.
While it may be tempting to use CASA’s free app, the investment of less than $100 for a good electronic flight bag will pay dividends to your business, training by a professional organisation will also pay dividends to your business.