Warning to drone flyers – keep away from floods

Drone flyers are being warned not to get in the way of emergency air services during the current flood crisis in NSW and Queensland.

Drones have been spotted flying close to airports being used by emergency services, putting aircraft and crew at risk.

While a number of airports in the cyclone Debbie and flood affected areas are closed to normal traffic they are being heavily used by rescue, medical and emergency service aircraft.

A drone was seen flying only a short distance from the end of Rockhampton airport while emergency flights were underway.

It is an offence under the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations to fly a drone in a way that causes a hazard to an aircraft or to fly on airport approach or departure paths.

Commercial drones must not be flown within 5.5 kilometres of a controlled airport without permission.

CASA’s Peter Gibson said both recreational and commercial drone operators must not fly in an area where emergency services are at work and must not put public safety at risk.

“The Civil Aviation Safety Authority issues fines for breaches of the drone rules and these can be costly,” Mr Gibson said.

“Fines can range from $900 to $9000 so it doesn’t pay to be irresponsible with a drone.”

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