Emergency authorities in Central Queensland are urging drone enthusiasts to avoid flying their equipment during the flood emergency in Rockhampton.
RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue Executive Officer Mark Fewtrell says emergency service personnel need the airspace.
“Right now, there are significant numbers of helicopters flying in and around Rockhampton,” Mr Fewtrell said.
“But their work is being hampered by drone users flying their equipment in the flooded areas around Rockhampton.
“We’re asking drone enthusiasts to respect the needs of emergency service workers who require this airspace.
“This also applies to property owners along the river. If we are called out to an emergency, we may need unrestricted access to the airspace above your property.”
Federal Member for Capricornia Michelle Landry says there are significant penalties for drone operators found doing the wrong thing.
“The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is actively monitoring the airspace around Rockhampton for illegal drone activity,” Ms Landry said.
“Hobbyist drone operators are not allowed to fly within 5.5 kilometres of a controlled airport, which includes Rockhampton. That means most of the riverbank around the CBD is out of bounds.
“Furthermore, hobbyist drone operators cannot fly in the area of a declared public safety operation without permission. That means you must contact CASA before sending your drone into the air.
“It is vital people heed this advice during this flood emergency. We don’t want rouge drones risking the safety of emergency service workers, and the public.”
More information can be found at the CASA website: https://www.casa.gov.au/modelaircraft
CASA Drone Factsheet available here: https://www.casa.gov.au/file/176971/download?token=yQxTYAcn