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Operation of Model Aircraft

City of Adelaide is committed to providing safe and inclusive environments for recreational and organised model aircraft activity within the Adelaide Park Lands. The following information outlines Councils guidelines, permissions and designated areas for the flying of model aircraft, including an application process for ‘organised groups’ to seek a licence for approved use of an area in Walyu Yarta (Park 21). 


Where can model aircraft operate within the Adelaide City Park Lands?

There are two designated areas within the Adelaide Park Lands (during daylight hours) where the flying of model aircraft is permitted (subject to public events and sporting activities);

1. Walyu Yarta (Park 21 - situated by South Terrace and Peacock Road, behind Veale Gardens - see map below) designated area for organised use by approved licensed clubs / groups.

2. Victoria Park / Pakapakanthi (Park 16) designated area for community and recreational use only (south of the central gardens, and south of the southern sports fields and trail while sporting activity is happening). Flying is not permitted north of the central gardens (situated by East Terrace - see map below).

NOTE: The flying of model aircraft by individuals or clubs is not permitted in any other location within the Adelaide City Park Lands. 

Type of model aircraft and permitted use

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

NOTE: Commercial use* is any activity that constitutes ‘hire and reward’ eg. remuneration received for flying an unmanned aircraft, however 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

What if there are other park users within the designated area?

Model aircraft and drones must be operated at least 30 metres away from anyone not directly associated with their operation. Pedestrians, cyclists and joggers are advised to show caution when in the vicinity of the flying of model aircraft or drones. Within Victoria Park/Pakapakanthi (Park 16) recreational model aircraft and drones users are also required to self-determine whether the southern area is too busy to fly, and vacate for the safety of other park users if necessary.

Use of all flying areas in the Adelaide City Park Lands are also subject to major public events.

Are there any safety regulations to be aware of?

Use of model aircraft and drones is governed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) legislation, under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR1998). Detailed guidelines are provided below with further information available at CASA’s website. A brief video “Flying your drone for fun? Drone rules in Australia” can also be viewed here.

When flying drones or model aircraft recreationally you need to follow some simple rules to keep everyone safe including;

  • Only flying 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 see the aircraft with your own eyes at all times (rather than through first-person-view [FPV] unless you operate under the procedures of an approved model flying association). Contact the 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, so you should keep at least 5.5 km away from airfields, aerodromes and helicopter landing sites.

Do I need to be a member of a club or association to operate a model aircraft?

Permitted types of model aircraft can fly recreationally in Victoria Park (Park 16) without being a member of a club; however you must fly in accordance with CASA safety regulations and it is recommended that users either have MAAA or AMAS membership or your home liability insurance extended to cover your activity within the Adelaide Park Lands (and have evidence of this with you when flying).

Organised model aircraft users (and individuals using approved FPV’s) must be a member of an licensed club or association that has been granted permission from CASA to fly model aircraft and drones in the designated area of Walyu Yarta (Park 21), and only where an activity licence has been granted to that club or association via the available application process (see below).

For further information on Model Aircraft, Drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's);
Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA)
Australian Minatare Aerosports Society (AMAS)
Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) or call 131 757
Flying drones or model aircraft recreationally
Where can I fly my drone? - Drone safety app

Why is there an application process and how can my club or association apply?

Increasing demand for areas in the Adelaide Park Lands to safely conduct organised model aircraft and drone activity (including approved FPV’s) has precipitated the need to licence approved users and their activities in a designated area of Park 21.

Annual licensing will help support sustainable access and the fair and equitable use of this public space. Licenses will also ensure 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 organised model aircraft or drone activity in Park 21, please download and complete the following application form, ensuring you attach any required documents and images, before emailing the information to the contacts below.

Organised Model Aircraft and Drone Activity Guidelines and Application

Please submit applications to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  and .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

NOTE: Applications are not open to commercial model aircraft or drone users.

What type of licence will be issued and what does it allow?

Approved users will be provided with a 12 month general community activity licence. The licence grants first right of use (not exclusive use) to the licensee (organised community led activity) while allowing general public access when not in use. It confers a non-exclusive contractual right to occupy the licensed area at approved times. The current general community activity licence fee for 2016-2017 is $140 +GST.

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

Who do I contact if there is an incident?

Our management conditions are adopted from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) who are responsible for the governance of Model Aircraft/Drones. CASA recommend that any incident where a pilot is not following the conditions be reported to the Police, who can take the pilots details.  There is a an ‘Unsafe drone flying complaint form’ that can be submitted to CASA who will then follow up with the pilot and take necessary action. This form requires the pilot to be identified. You can submit the form here.

Please contact City of Adelaide if you have any concerns on 8203 7203. In an emergency call 000.

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

Model Aeronautical Association of Australia (MAAA):

Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA): or call 131 757

Flying drones or model aircraft recreationally:

Where can I fly my drone? A drone safety app is available here

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