Drones, or unmanned aircraft systems, are becoming more widely utilised in a range of industries, including miltary, agricultural, forestry, research, and law enforcement. Western Sydney University has introduced a systematic approach to the use and approval of drone operations for University related activities.

The University defines drones as a remotely-controlled or an autonomous aircraft or other air-borne device.

Step 1: Get Your Remote Pilot's License

To operate a drone for the University you are required to complete your remote pilots license (RePL) and apply for an aviation reference number (ARN). To find an approved training organisation or find more information regarding this process visit the CASA website.

Step 2: Apply to be a University Drone Pilot

Once you've completed your remote pilots license, you are required to submit an application to become a University Drone Pilot. This allows the University to gauge an operators competency, and assists in compiling a list of University drone operators.

Upon being accepted as a University Drone Pilot, you will be registered with the University's Remotely Piloted Aircraft Commercial License Holder (ReOC), Overall Photography and provided with a unique link to submit individual drone flight applications.

Step 3: Complete a Drone Operation Application Form

The drone operation application form (opens in a new window) allows the University to ensure there is an adequate risk assessment, and insurance cover for each drone operation. Additionally, it provides verification that the drone operator understand the laws, rules and regulations in the juristication they are operating in (this may be in or outside of Australia).

If the drone operations entail on-campus and/or emergency and crisis management flights, endorsement from the Director, Campus Safety and Security, must be sought.

Additionally, if the drone operations entail flights which may capture marketing or promotional material, the Executive Director, Marketing, must be consulted.

Step 4a: For Outdoor Flights - Submit a Individual Drone Flight Application

To fly a drone for a legitimate University activity, you need approved from a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Commercial License Holder (ReOC). The University's Remotely Piloted Aircraft Commercial License Holder (ReOC) is Overall Photography.

Upon being accepted as a University Drone Pilot, you would have received a unique link to apply for individual flight approvals through Overall Photography.

Depending on where you are operating the drone, you may need additional permissions to fly. Overall Photography can step you through this process. For more information on when additional permissions are required, visit the CASA website.

Once your individual flight has approval from Overall Photography, you're clear to fly!

Step 4b: For Indoor Flights - Seek Permission From Space Owner

To fly a drone for a legitimate University activity indoors, you require permission from the space owner. If unsure who the appropriate space owner is, please contact the Office of Estate and Commercial.

Once your individual flight has permission from the space owner, you're clear to fly!

For more information on drones or the approval process, please contact Technical Support Services via drones@westernsydney.edu.au.