Drone pilot prepares for take-off.

AUSTRALIA’S aviation safety authority will establish a drone flyer’s licence and mandatory registration for all drones beginning in July this year with pilots of drones over 250g required to undertake and pass a course.

CASA said the expansion of the sector meant it needed to develop a system to manage all flyers, including those flying drones for fun. Now anyone wanting to fly a drone will be required to undertake CASA accreditation and flyer data will be retained so breaches can be investigated.

“It will certainly give us big advantages in terms of complaints or reports of drones being flown improperly or against the safety rules,” CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said. “We’ll have a starting point to know who flies drones in that area, what sort of drone they fly.”

“We’ll also have an overall picture of the drone sector…probably there are tens of thousands, possibly even 100,000, but at this point we don’t know,” Gibson said.

According to CASA, the cost of registration would vary for different types of drones – it will be around $20 per person for recreational drones and up to $160 for commercial drones.

“Clearly the unmanned traffic system is the key to safe and efficient drone operations, and all the players that are working in these areas are developing their own systems,” Gibson said. “We are working on that already…it’s not simple.”

The licensing systems is likely to please security managers – many have been troubled by drone incursions onto high security sites for some time and licensing is likely to impact on drone pilot behaviour, as well as speeding up investigations.