Where I Can Actually Fly a Drone in Sydney?

Hi guys, I recently snapped an awesome Dji Mavic Air deal during eBay's 20% off promotion, and I've flown it for 3 times so far. First time was at Base Point, that place is really good for flying a drone, not a very popular tourist site and you can get some amazing shots, second time was at Palm Beach which I thought I could get some amazing footage however my drone lost connection after hovering in the air for 1 min and couldn't be reconnected so I eventually gave up, the last time was at Royal National Park, which was kinda popular site for tourists, and I did draw some attention flying a drone, the coastal walk was windy as hell but I managed well and got some good footage.

Can you guys suggest me more places in Sydney that I can fly a drone without breaking the law and causing nuisance to locals? I do have the app "Can I Fly There" but it seems that if you live in Sydney you have to travel at least 50km like me to play this toy.

Comments

  • +2

    Please read the aviation rules before flying your drone:
    Fun and rec: https://www.casa.gov.au/modelaircraft
    Commercial: https://www.casa.gov.au/standard-page/flying-drones-commerci...

    There is an app for iOS/Android/Web that will tell you whether you can fly at a specific location:
    https://www.casa.gov.au/aircraft/standard-page/can-i-fly-the...

    You must not fly over or above people. This could include festivals, sporting ovals, populated beaches, parks, busy roads and footpaths.

    Lucky no one reported you for flying above tourist sites/crowded areas.

    • +2

      Yes I am well aware of these regulations you mentioned above before purchasing my Mavic Pro, I made sure that my drone was at least 50m away from people each time I flew it and I never fly over or above people. It was easy for me to find a quiet spot in Bare Island and Palm Beach that no other visitors around so I could fly the drone without disturbing others but I must admit that it was a different story in Royal National Park as there are visitors walking by constantly so I actually walked far away from the main coastal walking trails to find a flat rock surface to launch the drone, however there were still two visitors spotted my drone and pointed at it.

      I hope CASA can develop a new app called "Where I Can Actually Fly" though…

      • I think the CASA app is pretty good. Gives a good idea of where you can and can’t fly. I don’t know what more you want from the app. It does a pretty good job of telling you where you can “actually” fly…

        Do you want it to tell you how many people are around you? Or like an app that has locations that make nice photos? If a place is loaded with tourists? Gives you weather warnings? What is it “actually” missing??

        • +4

          Over the long weekend, I thought I was in a no fly zone, according to the CASA app. However, a commercial drone operator who was with me pulled out some official aviation maps (I'm sure they have a proper name) which showed that it was a "warning" zone or "danger" zone, or something like that. Basically, the CASA app showed it to be a no fly zone, but officially it was a "take care of potential aircraft" zone. It seems that the CASA app may be a little over-cautious.

          (He was not flying at the time. I was flying an excluded sub-100g quadcopter.)

        • @bcarp:

          I guess the CASA app errs on the side of caution. I would rather it say “no fly” than say, “meh, just take care” and get pinged becuse at the time I was there it was a no fly zone..

          Interesting about the maps though. Might look into that. Thinking of getting a commercial license soon.

        • +4

          I know this is not a "drone pilot club" app but it's very frustrating to find a place to fly a drone. First I'll have to look up for the non-red zone on the map, then I'll have to make sure it's not a residential area or crowded visitors sites. And even though I may find a park or oval to fly the drone eventually, there might be a sign says "drones prohibited" when I get there.

        • @pegaxs: Yes, you're right. That's the safer way to be.

        • +1

          I think the CASA app is pretty good. Gives a good idea of where you can and can’t fly. I don’t know what more you want from the app. It does a pretty good job of telling you where you can “actually” fly…

          No, it only tells you about CASA regulations, not whether or not you can actually fly there. For example if you enter in Uluru into the app, it'll tell you that you are permitted to fly there. But it's an NT national park so you cannot fly there - you need a written permit.

          Yes, technically you could take off from outside the park and fly into the park, but it's not feasible as the park is large and these drones have limited battery life.

        • +1

          @eug:

          Ahhhh… I never thought of it that way… Then if CASA is pushing this so hard, why are these types of areas not included? I just always believed that CASA would know where you can and cant fly. So, what you're saying is that basically, the CASA app is only where you cant fly in relation to other aircraft? Not with regards to other government departments version of what is a no fly zone?

          Maybe National Parks and Wildife need their own "No Fly" app?? Or CASA app updated with "Fly, No Fly and Fly with Permit" areas??

        • @pegaxs:

          Then if CASA is pushing this so hard, why are these types of areas not included?

          Probably a case of "too hard" or not enough budget?

          Maybe National Parks and Wildife need their own "No Fly" app?? Or CASA app updated with "Fly, No Fly and Fly with Permit" areas??

          It'd be a lot better if it was just 1 app that covered everything, rather than having to check across multiple apps.

          Personally I'd be glad to pay a small drone license fee ($10 a year?) if it means I'll be able to get an app that's 99.9% up-to-date on all restrictions, and without seemingly silly restrictions like not being able to fly under the treeline 5km away from an airport.

        • +2

          @eug: Silly restrictions? Strictly speaking, I am not allowed to fly my FPV Tiny Whoop drone weighing 24g within my own house because: (1) I'm within 30m of a building; (2) Once I pass through the doorway from the dining room into the lounge room, I'm no longer line of sight.

        • @bcarp: I don't think the CASA restrictions apply to flying inside a building.

      • +2

        Did you get permission to fly in the national park?

        http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/topics/parks-reserves-and-...

    • -3

      All this talk about gun control, how about drone control?

      • Yeah! Drone control!!

        When drones are outlawed, only outlaws will own drones…

        Drones don’t kill people. People kill people.

        The second amendment clearly states… “the right of the people to keep and bear quadcopters, shall not be infringed.”

        “We don’t need drone control, you know what we need? Propeller control. Propellers should be $5000 each. You know why, becuse if they were $5000 each, there would be no more innocent bystanders.” Chris Rock, comedian, talking about drone control.

        “How many have to die before we will give up these dangerous toys?” Quote. Stephen King, author.

        To anyone reading this, please realise I am being sarcastic. I can just see it now… people thinking I’m serious and comments like “you know the 2nd amendment is in the USA… rah rah…”

        • -2

          I'm all for guns and drones as long as they aint in the hand of idiots. A few little guidelines thrown in champ.

        • +2

          @Zedsdeadbabyzedsdead:

          Yeah, I'm with you. We have a few guys that come out flying with us and they should not be in control of their own life, let alone the car they arrived in or an aircraft of any type…

  • +1

    As already stated familiarise yourself with the CASA regulations before flying again. The fines are severe for breaches of the regulations and they are there for important safety and privacy reasons.

    The Can I Fly There app sets out the restricted flight areas in Sydney. Unless it is a no fly zone (which are clearly marked in the app), you may launch in Sydney PROVIDED that you comply with all applicable rules and regulations, and the restrictions of the airspace. This usually means that if you can see or are reasonably aware of a manned aircraft within your flight area you must land as soon as it is safe to do so.

  • +20

    Just fly around the airport with the other planes, all good.

    • +1

      I work for an airline at Sydney international airport and I live in Wolli Creek, so I'm basically sick of seeing planes flying around, I'll keep my drone flying somewhere else…

      • Owning a drone and living in Wolli Creek is a pain, understand you like no one else :)
        I always have to travel far from home for a good flight.
        If you are into flying to take aerial pictures/videos - I could recommend Maroubra beach, or Wanda Beach - plenty of place where you are far enough from people and buildings.

        • Thank you for your recommendation, but aren't those beaches always crowded? and I reckon those who goes to the beach concerns privacy more. Btw I've read from another drone group on FB that Gannons Park is a good place to fly a drone, only 25 mins drive from Wolli Creek.

        • Well, I don't fly over the crowded beach - at Wanda the beach is so huge that it can't be called a "dense crowd".
          In Maroubra the most attractive aerial views are above the rock formations and the rock pool. Also - I find the light most attractive at sunrise (or sunset). There are not very many people there.
          What I do - I find a safe and remote place for liftoff/landing, then I fly to around 100m up and travel along the coast back and forth, making sure I stay above the water and not the land.

          Another good spot - is Cape Solander - definitely not many people there. Make sure you don't fly over whales - you can get heavily fined if you drop your huge mavic onto the tiny whale.
          Also, it looks like they no longer allow drones in Royal National Park, which is fine (who cares filming hectares of bush). But I'll miss Garie beach, which is beautiful and always empty.

    • +4

      "Hey quady, go play with your big friends"

  • +4

    Mate, you'll learn that people with drones are quick to bite new pilots (like yourself) heads off.

    • +2

      Not so sure about this. Drones can be very dangerous and there have been many examples of clear ignorance of the law leading to personal and property damage (not to mention large fines). Simple fact is you shouldn't be operating a drone if you don't know the rules, for your own sake and others.

  • +2

    I’d be very wary of it losing connection, that is not normal on a DJI drone.

  • +3

    around the airport

    • +6

      Welcome back tuzii! I’ve missed your posts…

      And by “around” the airport, you mean outside the 5.5km exclusion zone? :P

      • +2

        You won't get any good pictures of planes outside the exclusion zone.

        • +1

          The guy who sent his drone down to Bunnings recently, I think he was down there taking photos of planes…

        • +7

          Sorry that was directed at you. No need to pot the OP….we all started somewhere before we knew the rules. Here's a guy making an effort to do the right thing and you're taking a shot at him. Not appropriate.

  • +1

    Oh yeah, that right. Now I remember now why i'll never buy a drone

    • Yes, and I think the annoyed comments above are from people who have wasted thousands of dollars on drones and realised there is pretty much nowhere to fly them! :)

      • -4

        My DJI app says I am upto 150 hours total flight time on my Spark.
        Virtually all of that has been over crowded areas and out of line of site.
        Rules are made to be broken.

        • Maybe spark is too small and quiet compared to other models so people might not be able to notice? Did you draw some unwanted attention while flying over crowded areas?

        • Yes I think necessity is the mother of invention here and that is what I would probably do if I took the plunge.

        • +1

          @drone lives matter: You need to be cautious over people as well. The basic premise is that if one component fails, will the thing crash & hurt people/objects? If you have a hexacopter, then you can lose once ESC/motor & still be up in the air, but a quadcopter has no such safety mechanism. If you have dual receivers, or power supplies, then you are safer once again, but most quadcopters don't have that redundancy. Fixed wing gliders are generally safer because failure of propulsion still allows them to move to a safer area to land.

          I think fostering interest from others is great. If people don't understand or don't know, then there'll be fear & the restrictions will be harder.

  • +4

    I think the OP is simply asking is there anywhere useful and legal to fly a drone in Sydney?
    Because if you look at the CASA regulations using the "Can I fly there?" app it pretty much looks like there is no legal place worth flying a drone in Sydney?

    I think the comments such as "just look at the CASA regulations" or "just use the app" or "I'm glad you own a drone without knowing the rules" are all just ignorant, arrogant attitudes of people who think they know it all.

    OK, If you know so much maybe try answering the OP's question?

    I was wondering about trying and buying a decent drone myself but after looking at the CASA rules it looks as though after spending well over $1000 you pretty much can't use it anywhere locally of interest. So the OP's question is a very valid one that is not answered by CASA and maybe by someone helpful who has had this experience?

    Rant over!

  • +1

    Hi guys, I just realised that I made a mistake on the original post which I corrected already, and I don't want to be misleading here, the first place I flew was Bass Point near Shellharbour and I confused it with Bare Island which is within 5.5km from airport, a NO FLY ZONE. And again each time I flew my drone I abided the CASA regulations and actually I was kinda over cautious as I just got this drone and I'm still in the learning curve.

    Someone has mentioned above that I need to get permission to fly in national parks, but I find the information regarding flying a drone in national parks are really ambiguous to me. There is a general rule which suggests recreational drone use must have consent from the park manager. There is also the rule that the national park management must erect signs to show areas which require consent. I was not aware of any "drone prohibited" signs in the park but I could be wrong on this. Anyone has experience getting approval from park management to fly a drone for recreational purposes?

    • where do you get the info that the national park management must erect signs to show areas which required consent?

  • +3

    If you are keen to fly your drone I would recommend driving down towards Wollongong. Plenty of good terrains in a small area.

    • +1

      I've heard sea cliff bridge is a good spot, but might be tricky to find a place to launch the drone, I will definitely go there and find out.

      • Sea cliff bridge is a good area.

        Do it in the morning or even better at sunrise you will have great footage.

        I did it once around 5pm and it was a bit tricky to shoot because of the shadow from the mountain.

  • I've seen some tourists in Kuta & Seminyak flying these drones, lots of women with bikini and children around obviously. The women seems quite annoyed with it, but no one seem to be bothered to report it.

    I doubt you can do this in Bondi or Manly.

  • Damn! its difficult being a superhero these days.

  • I fly mine though Westfields and around mascot area

    • Did the mine explode?

  • I was looking at the big cities with the can I fly here app the other day and boy would that suck. Very little to no opportunities to fly. Yet here out regional plenty of places and spots no one has droned before.

  • "You must not fly your drone within 30 metres of people"

    That's such a ridiculous rule, distance is over the top, like 5-10 metres would be good enough.

    • 5-10 centimetres is more than enough

  • I was flying at Long Reef Point (between Narrabeen and Dee Why) last week-end.

    You can have some nice footage from there.

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