RPA, commonly referred to as drones, are an emerging and innovative technology being used around the world. Drones have a diversity of applications including in the agricultural sector, emergency services, infrastructure inspections and surveys, surf lifesaving, delivery of medical supplies, aerial photography and commercial delivery just to name a few.
There are currently no internationally-mandated noise aviation standards for drones. Countries and regions across the world are considering what regulations and standards may be appropriate given the drone industry is rapidly evolving and any regulation needs to take account of advances in drone technology.
The Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 2018 (the Regulations) apply to drones, therefore a range of commercial and recreational drone operations within Australia require approvals under Section 17 of the Regulations.
Drone Noise Regulations
Given increasing use of drones, the department conducted a review of current noise regulations to determine the appropriate scope and breadth of future noise regulations for drones. More information on the review can be found at Noise Regulation Review for RPA and Specialised Aircraft.
One of the recommendations from the Review of the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 2018 – Remotely Piloted Aircraft & Specialised Aircraft report was the development of flexible, risk-based interim regulations for drone and electric Vertical Take-off and Landing (eVTOL) aircraft noise.
The Review’s recommendation would require amendments to the Air Navigation (Aircraft Noise) Regulations 2018 to appropriately regulate noise impacts from emerging aviation technologies, such as drones and eVTOL aircraft. The current Regulations are designed for traditional aircraft noise management.
To address this recommendation from the Review, a Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) has been prepared for public consultation which contains options for amendments to the regulations. A copy of the RIS can be found at National Emerging Aviation Technologies Consultation.
As the drone and eVTOL industry matures, a longer-term emerging aviation technologies noise framework will be developed in consultation with industry, states and territories and the community as part of the National Emerging Aviation Technologies policy framework.
Airservices is responsible for managing complaints and enquiries about aircraft noise, including drones, through its Noise Complaint and Information Service (NCIS). This service is the Australian aviation industry’s main interface on aircraft noise and related issues for the community. Complaints and enquiries help identify issues of concern and possible opportunities for improvements.
The NCIS can be contacted:
- by phone on 1800 802 584 (freecall); or
- via the Airservices Australia website.
The safety regulation of drone operations in Australia is the responsibility of CASA.
If you wish to report unsafe operations of any drone, you should contact CASA.