RUASRT Supporting the UAS Industry

23-July-14 RMIT researchers have been supporting a Parliamentary “Inquiry into drones and the regulation of air safety and privacy”, House Standing Committee on Social Policy and Legal Affairs. The final report can be downloaded here:

Flight Global recently published an article on the Inquiry (see links below). The article also mentioned the role of RMIT’s UAS Research Team in studying the airworthiness challenges for HALE UAS (in conjunction with Northrop Grumman Australia).

Researchers from the RMIT UAS Research Team are also at the forefront of the development of regulations development for civil UAS in Australia. Dr Reece Clothier, is the Industry Co-Chair of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), Standards Consultative Committee, UAS Standards Sub-Committee. He is also on the board of directors for the Australian Association for Unmanned Systems. More information:

16th Australian International Aerospace Congress


The 16th Australian International Aerospace Congress will be held in February 2015 at the Melbourne Convention Centre. This biennial event is Australia’s premier aerospace academic forum held in conjunction with the Avalon Air Show. The call for papers for the Congress has been released (more information here).

RUASRT researchers will be submitting a number of papers and supporting this event. For more information, visit the congress website:






Flying Encounter with Wedge-Tailed Eagle

26-May-14 Whilst doing some slope soaring last week, RUASRT postgraduate and undergraduate students encountered a Wedge-Tailed Eagle. The Eagle made short work of the Alula aircraft, which is manufactured out of light weight foam. Check out the great video below.

The flights were being conducted as part of RMIT research into bio-inspired autonomous aircraft capable of saving energy by “surfing” wind currents. More information on this project here. Credit for the footage goes to Mr Abdulghani Mohamed, Ms Kiros Lim and Mr Chung Leung.

Related news coverage:


RUASRT in Australian Aviation Magazine

26-May-14 RUASRT lead researcher Dr Reece Clothier has been interviewed by Jordan Chong for an article by Australian Aviation on CASA’s proposed regulations for civil unmanned aircraft systems (read more about the proposed regulations here). Dr Clothier, who is the Industry Co-Chair for the CASA Standards Consultative Committee, UAS Sub-Committee, expressed general support for the proposed regulations. Whilst there is still a long way to go in the development of regulations for UAS in Australia, the proposed reform is considered favourably.

  • Read the full story here
  • Learn more about proposed reform of CASR1998 Part 101 regulations here

RUASRT and Flight Data Systems to Develop Safety System for UAS

22-May-14  RUASRT to develop prototype UAS Safety Assurance System. Working in collaboration with Flight Data Systems and its research division UAV Australia, the RUASRT is undertaking the engineering analysis, research, preliminary design and testing of a prototype avionics product that has the potential to enhance the safety of unmanned aircraft operations. The final system performs a number of safety functions independent of existing avionics. The end product will be designed to a pre-defined assurance level (software and hardware standards).

The project is jointly funded by Flight Data Systems, RMIT and a Victoria State Government Business Research and Development – Innovation Voucher Grant.

More Information:

RUASRT Welcomes New Research Fellow Dr Sridhar Ravi

21-May-14 RUASRT is pleased to announce the arrival of Dr Sridhar Ravi who joins us from the Department of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology (OEB), Harvard University. Dr Ravi’s expertise is in biological flight.

Through evolution, biological systems have mastered flight under challenging conditions. It is hoped that through studying insects and birds, Dr Ravi’s research can lead to significant advancements in the dynamics and control of aircraft, and in particular, micro aerial vehicles.

Dr Ravi was awarded a prestigious RMIT Vice Chancellor’s Fellowship in 2014.

Related links:


CASA Releases New Regulations for UAS

15 May 14 – The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have released a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) for the regulation of civil unmanned aircraft in Australia. The NPRM is open for comment until the 16-June-14. The NPRM is available on the CASA website:

The NPRM details proposed changes to the definition of unmanned aircraft systems (in line with ICAO definitions). It also describes new requirements in relation to small UAS (with a takeoff mass of less than 2kg), and information on remote pilot licensing.

Regulations relevant to civil UAS operations in Australia are contained in Civil Aviation Safety Regulation (CASR 1998) Part 101. More information on the regulations applicable to UAS (or remotely piloted aircraft) can be found on the CASA website:

Update – RUASRT has made public comment on some aspects of the NPRM:

RUASRT Supports Study into Maritime HALE Capability

13-May-14  RUASRT researchers, working in partnership with Northrop Grumman Australia, are exploring some of the key challenges in the airworthiness certification of High Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS). The MQ-4C Triton system is being used as a case-study for the research. The Triton has a wingspan of ~40m and an endurance in excess of 24 hours.

More information and related links:

Related media coverage:

New Project to Develop Autonomous Soaring Aircraft

7-April -14

RUASRT announced today that is undertaking research in partnership with the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO) to develop an unmanned aircraft that is capable of soaring like a bird.

RMIT Student Liam Peters, with the RMIT Kestrel.

RMIT Student Liam Peters, with the RMIT Kestrel.

The project, which is partly funded by the Defence Science Institute, commenced early in 2014 and is working towards flight testing of a small prototype system capable of ‘surfing’ updrafts around large buildings. The prototype system is called the RMIT Kestrel.

The six month research project brings together leading research into the modelling and analysis of airflows around structures with advanced sensing, and guidance algorithms.

The project is led by Prof Simon Watkins, Dr Reece Clothier, Dr Jennifer Palmer (DSTO), Dr Alex Fisher, Dr Matt Marino, and supported by Mr Abdulghani Mohamed, Ms Kiros Lim, Mr Chung Leung, Mr Liam Peters, and Mr Sam Prudden.

More information:

Related links: