Drone enthusiast Wayne Deaner has welcomed Australia’s aviation regulator’s plan for mandatory safety exams for new owners.
“Anything hitting an aeroplane is dangerous, especially with lithium-ion batteries as they can blow up or catch fire,” he said.
However, Mr Deaner was concerned that the cheaper end of the drone market, where products lack sophisticated GPS and online registration software, would not be subject to the new rules.
“There’s the $150 or $200 ones you can go out and buy that don’t have GPS,” Mr Deaner, of Wagga, said.
“I think (mandatory exams) are a good idea but you have got seven-year-olds whose parents have bought them a drone and told them not to fly it outside their block.
“However, those cheap drones can be hard to control.”
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has established a deal with leading drone manufacturer DJI to require all users to register and complete an online exam.
The exam must be completed before a newly purchased drone will activate and start flying.
The regulator now plans to have all drones at or above about the $1000 price point or above to have the same system.
CASA has established a digital map of Australia that highlights ‘amber’ areas where drone users should exercise caution.
The map also has ‘red’ areas that create virtual fences that drones cannot cross without being deactivated.
“There are restrictions within [more expensive drones] that say ‘no, I’m not flying here. It’s unsafe’,” Mr Deaner said.
“With cheaper drones, it’s all up to the responsibility of the user.”
Tamworth’s red areas include the Tamworth Hospital and the Tamworth Airport.
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