Flying a model aircraft or drone

Common questions about flying a model aircraft or drone

Flying model aircraft (UAV’s, radio-controlled aircraft, RC planes) and drones is an increasingly popular activity. Done within council and safety regulations, it can be great outdoor fun for everyone.

In the interests of wellbeing and safety for all, the City of Adelaide is committed to providing safe and inclusive environments for recreational and organised model aircraft activity within the Adelaide Park Lands.

The use of model aircraft and drones is governed by both the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the City of Adelaide. Please take a few minutes to read the information below which outlines CASA and Council’s guidelines and any permissions required. Following these guidelines will ensure your activity is safe and enjoyable for all.

There are two designated areas within the Adelaide Park Lands where you may fly model aircraft/drones during daylight hours (subject to no public events and sporting activities occurring);

  1. Victoria Park/Pakapakanthi (Park 16) The area south of the central gardens, (and south of the southern sports fields and trail while sporting activity is happening) is the designated area for community and recreational use only. Flying is not permitted north of the central gardens (situated by East Terrace - see map below).
  1. Walyu Yarta (Park 21) Situated by South Terrace and Peacock Road, behind Veale Gardens, this area is designated for organised use by clubs/groups holding a current licence (see Point 6 below).

Please note: The flying of model aircraft by individuals or clubs is not permitted in any other location within the Adelaide city or Park Lands

The following table is a guide to the permitted use of model aircraft and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) in the Adelaide Park Lands;

Permitted

Not Permitted (subject to permit or licence approval)

Electric powered UAV’s

Self-Guided Model Aircraft (SGMA) & First Person View (FPVs)

Non-powered UAV’s (ie. Gliders)

Petrol/turbine based aircraft

Drones without cameras

Drones with cameras

Recreational use only of all the above

Commercial use* is not permitted

*Commercial use is any activity that constitutes ‘hire and reward’ eg. remuneration received for flying an unmanned aircraft, regardless of how small the task, model aircraft or reward (CASR101.270).

The following conditions also apply when flying in Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi (Park 16):

Aircraft Type

Recommend Conditions

Electric powered and non -powered model aircraft (UAV’s) excluding ‘push type propeller’ and ‘ducted fan type’ craft

During daylight hours, any day

Push type propeller

During daylight hours, any day but not before 7.00am, limited to a maximum of four craft flying in a 15 minute period

Ducted fan type

During daylight hours, any day but not before 7.00am, limited to a maximum of nine craft flying in a 15 minute period

For the safety and comfort of all park users, model aircraft and drones must be operated at least 30 metres away from anyone not directly associated with their operation, and should not fly over or above other people.

Within Victoria Park/Pakapakanthi (Park 16) recreational model aircraft and drone users should to use their judgement whether the southern area is too busy to fly. If you’ve been there awhile, and it’s getting busy, please don’t overstay your welcome. You’d want the same courtesy extended to you.

Pedestrians, cyclists and joggers are advised to show caution when in the vicinity of the flying of model aircraft or drones.

The use of all flying areas in the Adelaide Park Lands are also subject to no major public events being held in the vicinity.

Yes. The use of model aircraft and drones is governed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) legislation, under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR1998).

We’ve provided an overview for your convenience below, but full details can be found on CASA’s website.

CASA rules include;

  • Only flying with your craft in visual line-of-sight, in day visual meteorological conditions (VMC). This means;
  • no night flying,
  • no flying in or through cloud or fog,
  • being able to always see the aircraft with your own eyes (rather than through first-person-view [FPV], unless you operate under the procedures of an approved model flying association). Contact the Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA) for more information about flying FPV.
  • Not flying closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings or people.
  • Not flying over any populous area, such as beaches, other people’s backyards, heavily populated parks or sports ovals where there is a game in progress.
  • Not flying higher than 400 feet (120metres) above the ground.
  • Not flying in a way that creates a hazard to other aircraft. Keep at least 5.5 km away from airfields, aerodromes and helicopter landing sites.

You may also want to watch the brief video “Flying your drone for fun? Drone rules in Australia”.

Individuals don’t need to be a member of a club or association to fly certain types of model aircraft/drones (see Point 1 above) for recreation in Victoria Park (Park 16). Membership of a club or association is highly recommended however, as benefits usually include public liability insurance.

If you don’t have MAAA or AMAS membership, make sure you’ve extended your home liability insurance to cover your flight activity before you start flying in Victoria Park (Park 16). Remember: You are liable for any damage or injury caused as a result of your flying. Make sure you are obeying the CASA safety regulations at all times. Regulations are currently under review and are subject to change.

Organised model aircraft users (and individuals using approved FPV’s) who wish to fly model aircraft and drones in the designated area of Walyu Yarta (Park 21), must be a member of a licensed club or association that has been granted permission from CASA. The club or association must also have been granted an activity licence by the City of Adelaide. (See application process below). If you are unsure, please contact your club before flying.

For further information on Model Aircraft, Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's);

Where can I fly my drone? Drone safety app available in Apple and Android 

The increasing popularity of model aircraft and drones, and demand for areas within the Adelaide Park Lands to safely conduct organised model aircraft, drone and approved FPV activity, has resulted in the need for Council to licence approved users (clubs and associations) and their activities.

Organised activity by licenced users is restricted to Walyu Yarta (Park 21). Annual licensing helps to ensure the fair and equitable use of this public space. Through the licencing process, Council can also ensure that approved activities and users have appropriate risk management and safety measures in place, including minimum Public Liability Insurance.

To be considered for an activity licence, and gain approved access for your club or associations organised model aircraft or drone activity, please download and complete the application form.

Make sure you attach any required documents and images, before email to [email protected].

NOTE: Applications are not open to commercial model aircraft or drone users. All enquiries for commercial model aircraft or drone use should be directed to [email protected]. Council does not provide individuals with licences to fly in the city.

Once approved, users will be provided with a 12month general community activity licence.

The licence grants first right of use (but not exclusive use) to the licensee (organised community-led activity) while allowing general public access when the area is not in use. It confers a non-exclusive contractual right to occupy the licensed area at approved times. Refer to the City of Adelaide’s fees and charges schedule for the current general community activity licence fee.

NOTE: the annual fee (reviewed annually) is paid per club or association and covers all its members for a 12month period.

In the case of an emergency where a person is seriously injured, call 000 (112 from a mobile phone).

CASA recommends that any incident where a pilot is not following the conditions be reported to the Police, who can take the pilots details.

You can also use the online ‘Unsafe drone flying' complaint form that can be submitted to CASA, who will then follow up with the pilot and take necessary action. Please note: this form requires the pilot to be identified.

Please contact City of Adelaide if you have any concerns on 08 8203 7203.

For further information on Model Aircraft, Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's);

Flying drones or model aircraft recreationally: