Drone infringement a timely reminder for community: police

Authorities wish to remind the community to keep out of controlled airspace, after a 28-year-old New South Wales man was caught flying a remotely piloted aircraft (drone) at Mount Ainslie Lookout in Canberra.

The Australian Federal Police (AFP) responded after a member of the public reported a drone being flown illegally in the area. Officers interviewed the man, who was on a brief visit to Canberra and did not realise he was flying in a restricted area.

The matter was then referred to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and, while there was no impact to airport operations on this occasion, an infringement and counselling notice was issued.

AFP Airport Police Commander Canberra Simon Henry stressed the seriousness of the incident, particularly given how close Mount Ainslie is to the airport.

"Our goal is to get passengers in and out of Canberra airport quickly and safely," Superintendent Henry said.

"Flying drones in controlled airspace puts the safety of both Canberrans and our visitors at risk, and can lead to significant delays for travellers. It is your responsibility to know where you can and can't fly, so please become familiar with the information and tools available to you."

CASA's spokesperson Peter Gibson said the drone safety rules protect people in the air and on the ground.

"The drone safety rules are simple and easy to follow – they're designed to avoid hazards with other aircraft, people or property," Mr Gibson said.

"This infringement should remind people not to fly drones within 5.5km from airports such as Canberra. It's dangerous, and there can be serious consequences."

CASA has produced an easy-to-use smartphone app illustrating where drones are not allowed to be flown. The 'Can I fly there?' drone safety app reflects the standard operating conditions for those flying their drone recreationally or commercially (under the excluded category of commercial operations) and is a valuable educational and situational awareness tool for drone flyers.

For more on the rules around recreational drone use, visit the CASA website.

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AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333

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