Senate committee wants much stricter drone flying rules

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Senate committee wants much stricter drone flying rules

Fear of accidents sparks raft of proposed regulations.

Concerns that a serious accident could result from flying a drone have sparked an official call for all remotely pilot aircraft (RPAs) in Australia to be registered with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority.

The senate rural and regional affairs and transport references committee wrote to infrastructure minister Darren Chester to call for greater safeguards for airspace and the public.following an increasing number of aviation incidents involving drones.

Mounting fears of a serious accident means the regulatory regime for drones must be strengthened, the committee demanded. 

"It is of considerable concern to the committee that recreational drone users are not required to register themselves or their equipment before flying a drone," the committee of MPs said.

Before prospective drone flyers can buy and use the remotely piloted aircraft, they should have to undergo safety awareness training courses, the committee said.

Flight logging should be mandatory, along with registration marks on the aircraft.

Geofencing technology should be installed on drones to protect controlled airspace and airports, in order to minimise collisions between the machines and aircraft. 

In high-traffic areas, drone shields should be employed, the committee recommended.

CASA last year relaxed regulations for commerical drone operators with aircraft weighing less than 2kg, requiring them only to obtain a remotely piloted aircraft operator's certificate and to notify the authority ahead of flights.

For recreational drone fliers, the current rules require the aircraft to be kept within eyesight, and not flown closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings and people.

Recreational drones are forbidden to fly over populated beaches, parks and sports ovals, and cannot be flown higher than 120 metres in controlled airspace such as in most Australian cities.


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