What is an Area Approval?

An Area Approval is an approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority to fly remotely piloted aircraft at a specific location with specific restrictions. These restrictions vary depending upon many different factors, all of which need to be documented in order to allow CASA to determine the correct approvals for a site.

Our clubs will require an area approval if:

  • Height:
    • You would like to operate above 400ft.
    • You are within 3 nautical miles of any controlled aerodrome (Control Tower). A controlled aerodrome is defined as whether a Control Tower is present AND it is in use (manned) at the same time when you fly your planes.
    • Within the movement area, approach or departure path which is;
      • Uncontrolled airports: up to 7kms from either end of a runway
      • Controlled airports: up to 8.5kms from either end of a runway
  • Location:
    • You fly at a location where manned aircraft can either take off from or land (CASA May, 2023)
  • Or a combination of these.

In many cases a club that operates outside of a controlled area and under 400 ft does not require an Area Approval.

For your assistance in gathering information for your Area Approval application the following list has been created “CASA Recreational Flight Authorisation Considerations“. For further information visit the CASA website under Apply for Flight Authorisations.

What about Model Flying Displays?

Model Flying Displays require a CASA Permission CASR 101.080 and may or may not require an Area Approval (Please contact the MAAQ Development Officer for further information)

What is the Cost of an Area Approval?

The cost is quoted by CASA once the application is submitted. As of February 2023, the MAAA have announced they will provide funding for the cost of an Area Approval for all clubs (including renewals). This is a saving to our clubs of approximately $320 – $380.

What information does a Club need to provide?

We are always looking to improve and refine the list of information required and ensure the process of applying for, or renewing, an Area Approval is as painless as possible.

Below is an outline of documentation required by CASA to support an Area Approval application/renewal;

  • CASA Application Form – Model Aircraft Flight Authorisation Form
  • MAAA Risk Assessment Form Page 1 (Summary)
  • MAAA Risk Assessment Template Risk Assessments are expected to have 4 main topics;
    • Airspace risk;
      • Crewed aircraft 
      • Mid air collision 
      • Visual Line of Sight (VLOS)
      • Etc
    • Ground risk;
      • Neighbouring properties
      • Vehicles 
      • Etc
    • People risk; (including Visitors and members)
      • Visitors and spectators entering unauthorised areas
      • Etc
    • Fire Risk;
      • Impacts of fire, and how this may be managed. 
      • Etc
  • Maps / Field Layout photos;
    • High level layout photo of field, eg. 3000ft – Use a Google Earth photo
    • Detailed level layout photo of field, eg. 400ft with markings identifying;
      • Pits
      • Pilot Box
      • Visitors area
      • Car Parking
      • Operations Area (where planes taxi and takeoff)
      • Identification of any hazards or restrictions
  • Club information;
    • By Laws – (Operational safety rules)
    • Operational procedures (if any)
  • Stakeholder Engagement evidence;
    • Notification to Airports (Example format of required data in a word document)
    • Written permission from the land owner or leaseholder – This is to demonstrate you have permission to use the land for the purposes of model aircraft
    • Carefully consider who may be an interested stakeholder. It is up to the Club to determine who their stakeholders are however, CASA has provided the following guidelines, “Aviation engagement (include aerodromes, aircraft landing areas, helicopter landing sites within 50km radius that are likely to be impacted by the operation of model aircraft)”

CASA also produced a guideline list of items to consider in your clubs Area Approval. (Recreational Flight Authorisation Requirements)

How is this information presented to CASA?

It is important all of the information provided in an Area Approval is consistent, complete and contained. The responsibility of the MAAQ Development Officer will be to collate and clarify the information provided before entering the information into the Area Approval software (AVCRM).

Is this process being automated?

The MAAA have partnered with AVCRM who have developed an application that the MAAQ Development Officer uses to apply, renew and track all Area Approval applications. As of January, 2023 this software is in the initial stages of being used and administrative staff are being trained.

Initially the MAAQ will manage the entry of information to this repository for our clubs and will liaise with you for the information required above.

In the future we will be assisting our clubs to enter and manage their Area Approval lodgement and tracking directly into the system.  That will be once we are sure that suitable training and support resources/documentation has been provisioned by MAAA to support you.