A timely reminder: Parents warned about Christmas drones and the law

Parents are advised that drones are not a give-and-forget Christmas present. Drones come with rules and regulations which are policed and can present fines of $10,000 in some of the more serious drone safety breaches. Drones can pose serious risks to people, property and aircraft if not flown safely.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority says parents must teach their kids about drone safety after the presents are unwrapped.

A CASA spokesperson advised that teaching kids to stay safe in the skies with a drone is easy.

“The key drone rules are really simple – stay more than 30 metres from people at all times, never fly within 5.5 kilometres of major airports, never put aircraft at risk, keep your drone in your sight at all times and stay below 120 metres.

“CASA wants everyone to have fun with their drones but we need to make sure the safety rules are followed.

“Parents and carers have a responsibility to teach their kids about drone safety and to supervise flights until it is clear the kids know how to fly safely.

“Don’t put others at risk this Christmas by just giving a drone and forgetting about safety. Drones and safety go hand-in-hand.”

VIDEO: Flying for fun - drone rules in Australia

It is understood that new regulations are set to be put in place where drone owners will be required to register their drone with CASA and as part of that process drone owners be required to do an online test.

The rules

  • You must not fly your drone higher than 120 metres (400 ft) above the ground.

  • You must not fly your drone over or near an area affecting public safety or where emergency operations are underway (without prior approval). This could include situations such as a car crash, police operations, a fire and associated firefighting efforts, and search and rescue operations.

  • You must not fly your drone within 30 metres of people, unless the other person is part of controlling or navigating the drone.

  • You must fly only one drone at a time.

  • If your drone weighs more than 100 grams:

  • You must keep your drone at least 5.5km away from controlled aerodromes (usually those with a control tower)

  • You may fly within 5.5km of a non-controlled aerodrome or helicopter landing site (HLS) only if manned aircraft are not operating to or from the aerodrome. If you become aware of manned aircraft operating to or from the aerodrome/ HLS, you must manoeuvre away from the aircraft and land as soon as safely possible. This includes:

  • not operating your drone within the airfield boundary (*without approval)

  • not operating your drone in the approach and departure paths of the aerodrome (*without approval)

  • You must only fly during the day and keep your drone within visual line-of sight.

  • This means being able to orientate, navigate and see the aircraft with your own eyes at all times (rather than through a device; for example, through goggles or on a video screen).

  • You must not fly over or above people. This could include festivals, sporting ovals, populated beaches, parks, busy roads and footpaths.

  • You must not operate your drone in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person, or property

  • You must not operate your drone in prohibited or restricted areas.

* Approval is generally linked to an approved model flying association and its members

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