Warning to drone users

Gareth McKnightSound Telegraph

A Rockingham-based professional drone operator has urged people using the airborne technology to abide by the rules or risk punishment by the authorities.

There have been media reports across Australia of drones being used in restricted air space, creating safety concerns.

Rockingham’s Allan Godley worked as a welder in the mining industry but opted to change careers last year, forming Creative Drone Worx in the process.

He completed the week-long certification from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, using Global Drone Solutions as his training partner to become accredited.

Mr Godley now uses his drone business to make a living, taking stunning aerial photos, including the one used on the front page of last week’s Telegraph.

He said drones could travel up to 5km away from their handheld remote, but had to remain in sight.

Drones can go as high as 120m and accredited operators can’t get closer than 15m from a person. However, Mr Godley said he had seen people breaking the rules in Rockingham and called on anyone with a drone to do the right thing.

“You have got to do the right thing because if you don’t CASA will be onto you and will watch you for six months,” he said.

“There are too many cowboys out there ruining it for all of us trying to do the right thing. People are flying in restricted air spaces.

“I really want to emphasise the safety aspect of using drones. It is going to come to a point where CASA will get annoyed with it and make the rules even tighter.

“It’s all logged so you can’t hide. If you are flying a drone and you are doing something wrong, the manufacturer can access your logs anytime it likes and see what you are doing with the drone.”

A CASA spokesman said certified drone operators needed to use licensed drone pilots and penalties for breaking the rules spanned from $1000-$10,000 fines.

“It’s vital everyone flying a drone follows the safety rules at all times to protect people, property and other aircraft,” he said. More information is available on the Can I Fly There app at casa.gov.au/ droneapp

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