A recreational drone crashed at the Australian War Memorial during the last post ceremony on Friday afternoon.
The drone hit the ground just metres from the Memorial’s director and former defence minister Brendan Nelson, who then handed the aircraft to security personnel.
The man responsible for the wayward flight was identified as a visitor from New South Wales and now faces possible penalties ranging from $900 to $9,000 after CASA launched an investigation into the incident.
CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson said this incident should remind all drone flyers to follow the rules.
‘The regulations say that for a recreational drone, you have to stay more than 30 metres away from people, property and vehicles, you must not fly around crowds or groups of people and you must not cause a risk to anyone,’ said Gibson.
‘The safety rules really put a buffer there so if your drone has a problem and crashes, it won’t hit someone, it won’t run into something, it won’t cause damage.
‘So there are a number of rules there that we’ll be looking at to see if there’s been any breaches.’
Australia’s drone safety rules relevant to recreational unmanned flight have been in place since 2002 and call for a common-sense approach when flying.
In summary, these rules are:
- You must only operate the aircraft in your line-of-sight in daylight. Don’t let it get too far away from you.
- You must not fly closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings or people.
- You must not fly over any populous area, such as beaches, heavily populated parks, or sports ovals where there is a game in progress.
- If you are in controlled airspace—which covers most Australian cities—you must not fly higher than 400 feet (120 metres).
- You must not fly in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, so keep at least 5.5 km away from airports or aerodromes.
CASA also released the below video before Christmas, aimed at new drone pilots who may not know the safety rules. More information can be found on CASA’s website.