Where's the best place to go out and fly your drone in Adelaide? Well, there isn't a simple answer to that question - there's a lot you need to know before launching into the skies. Read on to learn more about how and where you can fly your drone for fun in Adelaide.
Drones are officially known as 'unmanned aerial vehicles' or 'remotely piloted aircraft'. Legally, they are considered to be aircraft - not toys. There are a range of weight and use categories but for the average punter I'll focus on the 'micro' (less than 250 gm) and 'very small excluded' (250 gm to 2 kg) category. The DJI Mavic Mini is a good example of a sub 250 gm drone. The Skydio, DJI Phantom, Mavic Air, Mavic Pro, etc, are in the very small excluded category.
The first thing to know about flying a drone in Adelaide is that you'll need to register the drone with CASA and think about becoming an accredited small drone pilot. Both are available online for free. By then, you'll understand the basic operating conditions and you will also learn about drone safety apps that identify no-fly zones.
Having three airports in the Adelaide metro area means that large swathes of northern and western Adelaide (including almost all of the CBD) are off-limits to drones - except sometimes micro drones (under further conditions). Crowded areas are also off-limits. You can check all the rules at CASA but probably the most important one is not to fly near airports (5 km radius) or any other airspace without fully appraising yourself of the airspace rules. Micro drones have different distance restrictions but here the rules get complicated - make sure you are using a safety app to check. The next limiting rule is to never fly within 30 metres of any other person or property not directly involved in your flight. Councils may also have by-laws or signage in certain areas. National (or conservation) parks or reserves are totally off-limits to drone flyers. Never fly at night.
You might well ask - is there anywhere left that I can fly a drone in Adelaide? Don't lose hope.
There is one space in the Adelaide metro area where you are specifically approved to fly drones under certain conditions. It's at the southern end of Victoria Park (Pakapakanthi) in the eastern Adelaide Parklands. There is usually plenty of parking nearby on South Terrace or East Terrace.
It's the only place you can fly a drone in the Adelaide Parklands without a permit. This spot has long been designated as a model aircraft flying zone and has been updated for the drone era. Formerly a part of the Victoria Park racecourse, this vast area features plenty of air space over a wide grassed field with few trees - or joggers - nearby. The boundaries you may fly within are subject to change, you can check here.
There's a lot of confusion out there as to other spaces around Adelaide but just remember to stay 30 metres away from people and property, obey the operating conditions for your drone category, think about the times of day you might want to fly to avoid the crowds (no night flying), and you'll find an open unpopulated space with plenty of room nearby – just not in the western or northern Adelaide metro area.
You're liable for what happens when flying your drone and you need plenty of space. That's why many drone flyers will tell you it's easier to head for the country. Somewhere like the Fleurieu Peninsula or Murray River.
If you're in Adelaide and looking for a massive space right now that's perfect for practising your skills and having some fun with your registered drone - Victoria Park is your best option.
I must stress again how important it is to appraise yourself of all the requirements and rules before you fly. They're just common sense after all. Flying a drone is meant to be fun and safe but who wants random drones dropping out of the sky into their backyards? Knowing the rules and abiding by them will enable you to fly your drone with confidence.
Lastly, there are plenty of model aircraft and drone related clubs around Adelaide offering information and support.
Do you know any model aircraft or drone clubs who can help? Where are some other places to safely fly a drone around Adelaide? Let us know with your answer!
You can apply for a special permit under some circumstances if you want to photograph your property. Regardless of where you are, you are not supposed to hover over other peoples' properties without their permission. People are encouraged to report it to the Police if it definitely hovers over your property. (Official Adelaide from South Australian Police)