Time: 8:20pm AEST
Date: Sunday 23/04/17
Operator Location: Bowen Street, Melbourne CBD, Australia
Drone flight path: Vertically, facing S & E living apartments
Estimated height: 140m
Make & Model: Unknown (single red light)
Description: DroneSec received two independent reports of a drone slowly hovering in front of a number apartments in Melbourne’s CBD on Sunday night. Readers sighted the drone based on a “glowing red light” hovering roughly 20 – 40m from the apartments.
Readers believe the drone flew back to the operator as it was noticed by residents peered over their balconies to witness the event. The drone was filmed landing on the road near RMIT University entrance, and being carried away by three unknown persons. Multiple pedestrians were in the surrounding areas at the time the drone was detected.
Per Australian drone laws, it is illegal to fly in high-density areas such as the Central Business District (CBD) and above crowded areas (people, roads). Further to that, it is unknown if the drone was simply capturing footage of the city or taking advantage of the Autumn darkness to film residents inside city apartments.
Operators could face hefty fines if found to be flying a drone in high-density areas, which include common flight paths for helicopters and hot air balloons.
In March a man faced similar charges when he was fined $1000 for flying his drone into the Eureka tower. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) can hand out fines up to $9000 for flying a drone at an unsafe height over a populated area, which includes the city of Melbourne and within 5km of airports and helicopter channels.
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