Games of drones

They're popular, affordable and fun to fly, but are you using them legally?

Most of the rules related to flying drones are based on common sense, with added measurements. The information below applies to recreational drone use; if you're flying for payment or reward, you will typically need a licence.

Key points from the drone-flying rulebook

Don't fly your drone higher than 120m above ground level
Always keep your drone at least 30m from other people
Don't fly directly over people, or a populous area such as a sports venue while a game is in progress.
Stay at least 5.5km away from an airport that has a control tower
Keep your drone within view using your own eyes at all times in other words, not through binoculars or FPV goggles
Never fly your drone in a way that can be hazardous to people or property
Keep well clear of car accidents, bushfires, and other areas affecting public safety
Respect people's privacy and don't film without permission
Don't fly at night, or into cloud or fog

Can I use FPV goggles with my drone?
You can only operate your drone in direct visual line-of-sight, which means there's no problem with using a camera-equipped drone to film yourself or your friends having fun – assuming you have permission, of course! You just need to be able to see the drone itself at all times, and be aware of any potential risks (such as overhead powerlines) that the camera can't show you. If you're a member of a remote-controlled aircraft club you may have an exemption from these conditions.

Illegal drone use attracts a hefty fine, and interfering with air traffic can even land you in jail. If in doubt, visit the CASA (Civil Aviation Safety Authority) information page and download an app that shows you where it's safe to fly.

Generally, regulations only apply to drones flown outside or in public spaces. This means you don't have to worry about the 30m rule if you're enjoying indoor aerial combat with a friend using a pair of battle drones.

Check out the full range of drones available from Jaycar.

- December 2019

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