In this article, we will delve into the regulations surrounding flying drones at night in Australia. While some countries allow night flying with specific permissions, Australia generally prohibits it. We will explore the restrictions for recreational and commercial drone operators, emphasising the importance of adhering to the guidelines established by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

Recreational Drone Flying at Night

Recreational drone operators in Australia are not permitted to fly their drones at night. The designated flying time is limited from the “Beginning of Day” (BOD) to the “End of Day” (EOD). These times are determined by civil twilight and provide approximately 20 minutes on either side of sunrise and sunset, varying based on location. To ensure compliance, it is advisable not to operate drones after sunset or before sunrise.

Night Flying for Commercial Operators

Commercial drone operators have the opportunity to fly at night but are subject to strict protocols and conditions. To engage in night operations, commercial operators must hold a Remote Operator Certificate (ReOC) in Australia. Even possessing a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL or REPL) does not grant permission for night flying unless conducted under the guidance of a ReOC operator.

Requirements for Night Flying

To fly a drone or Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) at night in Australia, the operator must hold a ReOC, while all pilots operating under the ReOC must possess a RePL. These accreditations and licenses are essential prerequisites for considering night operations.

Commercial Operators with a ReOC Must Also:

  • Conduct training and testing for each remote pilot.
  • Maintain comprehensive records of training and testing.
  • Carry out a Job Safety Analysis (JSA) and risk assessment for each flight.
  • Document all practices and procedures.

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Compliance and Safety

Although these regulations may appear stringent, it is crucial for drone pilots in Australia to comply with the guidelines established by CASA or their civil aviation authority. These rules are implemented to ensure the safety and legality of drone operations. Following these requirements not only upholds the law but also safeguards the well-being of individuals and property.

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Understanding the regulations and restrictions surrounding the night flying of drones in Australia is essential for both recreational and commercial operators. While recreational operators are generally prohibited from flying at night, commercial operators can engage in night operations under specific conditions and with the necessary certifications. Compliance with CASA guidelines is paramount to ensure the safety and legality of drone operations. By adhering to these rules, drone enthusiasts can enjoy their hobby responsibly while maintaining a high standard of safety.