Crashing into a car on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, narrowly missing a rescue helicopter on the Gold Coast and hitting a triathlete in WA are just a few high profile accidents that involved a drone over the years.
Crashing into a car on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, narrowly missing a rescue helicopter on the Gold Coast and hitting a triathlete in WA are just a few high profile accidents that involved a drone over the years. Marc Stapelberg

Aviation experts call for drone safety

FOR those who found a drone under the tree this Christmas, warnings of hefty fines have been given if mandatory safety rules are not followed.

Thousands of new drone pilots are predicted to be launching their aircrafts this week and safety must come first to avoid injury and damage to property, according to Civil Aviation Safety Authority's Peter Gibson.

"CASA wants people to have fun flying their drone but we need the fun to be safe," he said.

"Drone flyers must not cause a hazard to people, property or aircraft at any time."

New drone laws were introduced in September, allowing anyone to fly a drone under 2kg for profit.

They were enacted despite a number of accidents in Australia, including a drone that crashed into a car on the Sydney Harbour Bridge, a drone that narrowly missed a rescue helicopter on the Gold Coast and a triathlete who was hit by a malfunctioning drone in WA.

According to the new laws, drone flyers must stay more than 30 metres away from other people, and if a low flying aircraft is seen the drone must be grounded immediately.

Safe places to fly drones include uncrowded parks, spaces with no people around or a secluded beach.

Penalties for breaking rules include fines of up to $9,000.

CASA adds drone flyers need to respect the privacy of others and avoid flying over backyards or around homes and apartments.



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