Low-flying aircraft

Regulations specify the height at which aircraft may lawfully fly. Flying below these heights may constitute a breach of the regulations. However, there are situations in which low flying is permitted. These situations include, but are not limited to:

  • flying in the course of taking off, landing or conducting a missed approach
  • flying in accordance with instructions from an air traffic controller
  • undertaking certain kinds of specialised aerial work (for example, power line inspection, geographical survey work, aerial firefighting, agricultural spraying)

Unless otherwise permitted, the regulations normally require that pilots fly no lower than 1000 feet over built-up areas, or 500 feet over any other area. CASA may investigate low flying incidents. To do so effectively, however, CASA requires sufficient information to allow the aircraft involved to be identified. Photographs are helpful, and details of the aircraft’s registration number, type, make and model as well as the date and time of day the low-flying activity was observed should be provided if possible. If you have a need to report a low-flying event and have information to support your complaint please complete the Civil Aviation Safety Authority’s Report a low flying aircraft form. This information will be sent to the Operations Division.

Military aircraft

If you believe the aircraft involved is an Australia Defence Force (ADF) aircraft, please go to the Military flying activities section.


If you would like to report unsafe drone activity please use the Unsafe drone operations complaint form.