Australian drone pilots will be forced to pass a quiz before taking to the skies under a new initiative launched by the world’s largest drone maker, DJI.
The mandatory exam, created by DJI in conjunction with Australia’s Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA), will automatically appear in the app used to fly its drones. The exam follows a risky year for Australian drone users, in which 32 were issued fines and ‘hundreds’ received written safety notices for flying the devices in a dangerous manner.
DJI Asia Pacific public policy head Adam Welsh said the company launched the drone flight exam to ensure users knew how to legally fly drones in Australia and didn’t give the technology a bad reputation.
“The majority of our users are flying in a safe and responsible manner but this is just to make sure everyone understands the rules. Not everyone might have looked at the CASA rules,” he said.
Pilots will be required to correctly answer all nine questions in the DJI app before launching their drone. Further, foreign operators will also need to complete the quiz if they wish to fly in Australia.
Australia will be the third country, after the United State and the United Kingdom, to receive the DJI pre-flight quiz.
CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson said the Authority welcomed the quiz, particularly as the number of drones flown in Australia has skyrocketed in recent years.
“It should reinforce to everyone who owns a drone that there are responsibilities that come with them, and one them is understanding the laws around flying them,” he said.
Mr Gibson said CASA issued a record 32 fines for dangerous drone use in Australia last year, and sent out “hundreds” of warning letters to users who appeared to have broken the rules.
Australian drone laws stipulate drones must not be flown within 30 metres of other people, must only be flown during the day, not higher than 120m, and not within 5.5km of an airport.