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:

  • You would like to operate above 400ft.
  • You are within 3 nautical miles of any controlled aerodrome (Control Tower) or in the movement area, approach or departure path (which is up to 7kms from either end of a runway). 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.
  • 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 more information and stipulation of requirements please 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 at January 2023 this cost is approximately $320 (This could go up to $480 if there are multiple aspects to the assessment, for example, a Model Flying Display Permission application combined with the Area Approval).

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 (Contact the MAAQ Secretary for an editable version of this form which is in the correct format for AVCRM)
  • Field Layout photos;
    • High level layout photo of field, eg. 3000ft – 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 (Word Document template)
    • Written permission from the Land Owner or ownership or leasehold Title – This is to demonstrate you have permission to use the land for the purposes of model aircraft

How is this information presented to CASA?

It is important all of the information provided in an Area Approval is consistent, complete and contained. That means ensuring, where possible, all information provided is contained within one document.

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.