DJI and CASA: No Quiz, No Fly
Consumer drone purchasing and use is undoubtedly on the rise, and leading Chinese drone manufacturer DJI is aware that the increase in the number of drone users necessitates the management of air space available. In a move following the US and UK, drone pilots are now required to complete a knowledge quiz before being able to fly their DJI drone.
This concrete step towards drone flight safety by DJI is in partnership with with Australia’s Civil Aviation and Safety Authority. The exam pops-up by default as soon as the drone app is accessed. This step was taken after an increasing number of drone safety related lapses by their users came to light. In just this past year 32 pilots were issued fines and “hundreds” received written safety notices for flying the devices in a dangerous manner.
Existing Australian drone laws stipulate drones must not be flown within 30 metres of other people, must only be flown during the day, cannot fly higher than 120m, and cannot fly within 5.5km of an airport. Though majority of the users fly safely and responsibly, DJI chose to launch the drone flight exam to ensure that new users know how to legally fly drones in Australia.
Answering all nine questions in the DJI Go or Go 4 app before launching their drone will be mandatory for pilots. Even foreign flyers that use DJI drones while visiting Australia will have to undergo the quiz. Repeated attempts till they pass this test are permissible for Pilots.
Australia will be the third country to receive the DJI pre-flight quiz. The Chinese firm has previously launched similar tests in the United States in October and United Kingdom last December. DJI is known for having incorporated several systems and mechanisms in the past to ensure air safety implementation for its drones. In2014, DJI used the geofencing systems in its drones, using GPS to warn or restrict drone pilots entering locations which pose national security or aviation safety concerns amongst other features to make drone safety truly safe and efficient.
CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said the Authority welcomed the rules reminder, particularly since the number of drones flown in Australia has surged manifold in the last year. “It should reinforce to everyone who owns a drone that there are responsibilities that come with that and one them is understanding the laws around flying drones,” he said. “Most people who fly drones do so recreationally and they’re not required to have a pilot’s license and there’s no registration system.”
“As drones become more portable, intelligent and accessible, we expect to see more enthusiasts using this technology at home, on their travels and as a complementary tool for their work,” said Adam Welsh, Head of Asia Pacific Public Policy at DJI. “The majority of pilots fly safely and responsibly but DJI has taken this step so that new drone pilots have an opportunity to learn and understand some simple safety rules as part of their first flying experience.”