CASA has recently published the details of the fines applicable to drone operators violating the safety rules and has set harsher penalties for any further breaching of rules.
One drone pilot was fined $1,440 on two counts of violations by flying in restricted airspace of the Sydney Harbour, including flying within 30 metres of civilians.
Another drone incident occurred in regional NSW, where a drone pilot filming a wedding was fined $900 for flying too close to people and endangering their safety.
A group of children playing at an Easter egg hunt were put at risk by a drone being flown at a height too low from the ground where it would not be able to clear the area in the event of a malfunction. CASA’s Aviation Safety Director, Shane Carmody stated that the drone pilot also received a fine of $900.
Most of the drone incidents usually occur within major cities, with Sydney accounting for about 37% of all near misses between drones and aircraft. Multiple incidents of drones flying within restricted helicopter zones within the Melbourne CBD have also been reported.
DroneSec understands that all three drone pilots have paid the penalties issued by CASA.
Mr Carmody of CASA highly advises using the official drone safety app ‘Can I fly there?’ (the logo of which looks scarily similar to DroneSec’s color/font/logo…) Here at DroneSec we use the app regularly – working on both Android, iOS and even a browser-based web application, it quickly shows where you can and cannot fly.
Similarly, the app shows you height limits in meters (readily visible on your DJI GO/related drone app) the different restriction types and details about the areas. The app also shows aerodromes, landing and take of paths, helicopter sites and military/enforcement airspace.
Flying in Australia – Simple Rules
- Don’t fly within 30m of people (at risk of malfunction or accident)
- Don’t fly within 5km of airports/helipads
- In most places, stick to under 120m in height
- Don’t fly in busy, or crowded places, or areas with foot/vehicle traffic
- Respect privacy – don’t fly close to people’s homes or backyards
- Never attempt to capture a bushfire or event in which emergency services are in attendance
Remember – different rules apply to you if flying for monetary or financial gain. These rules apply to casual flyers and as seen above – CASA follows up on violations with hefty fines. Stick to the rules and help protect the industry from tighter restrictions and limitations in the hobby-space.