A drone flying over King's Beach.
A drone flying over King's Beach. Warren Lynam

Coffs drone pilots warned stay clear of airports

TOURISTS visiting the Coffs Coast and other seaside towns are being warned to think about air safety before flying drones to take photos and videos.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has received reports of drones being flown close to aircraft flight paths in tourist towns.

In Coffs Harbour, quadcopters and drones have been seen being flying over the harbour in the direct flight path of commercial airliners landing at Coffs Harbour Regional Airport.

Headlands offer perfect ocean views and are ideal for drone pictures - but they can also be on the final aircraft approaches to regional airports, CASA has warned.

Flying a drone in an area where aircraft are operating at low altitudes poses a risk of distracting pilots or colliding with a plane.

CASA said drones should not be flown within 5km of an airport and should be kept below 400 feet or 130m.

One Queensland drone pilot found this out the hard way after receiving an $850 fine for his drone use, based on his YouTube videos.

The owner received a phone call from a CASA investigator notifying him of multiple breaches, each of which could result in an $850 fine.

In the end, his single $850 fine was a lucky break, with the CASA investigator stating: "While each individual breach was not major in itself, the number of breaches has caused me concern."

- APN NEWSDESK



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