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NSW Man Caught Flying a Drone Illegally, Fined

NSW Man Caught Flying a Drone Illegally, Fined

A 28-year-old from New South Wales was caught by police flying a drone illegally in restricted airspace above Mount Ainslie.

The man, who was on a brief visit to Canberra, did not realize he was flying the drone illegally in a restricted area. He was handed an infringement and a counselling notice after he was reported to police for flying a drone illegally at the Mount Ainslie lookout. These infringement notices for flying a drone illegally in restricted airspace carry a fine of up to $1050.

28-Year-Old Caught by Police for Flying a Drone Illegally

This is the fourth incident reported in Canberra this year. The AFP then referred the matter to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), who found there was no impact to airport operations on this occasion. The Spokesman for the authority, Peter Gibson, said there are many areas in Canberra where drones are unable to be flown. “The drone safety rules are simple and easy to follow. They’re designed to avoid hazards with other aircraft, people, or property,” Mr. Gibson said. “This infringement should remind people not to fly drones within 5.5 kilometers from airports. It’s dangerous, and there can be serious consequences.”

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Caught by Police for Flying a Drone


The 5.5-kilometer limit means drone users aren’t able to fly near many Canberra landmarks, including the War Memorial, Parliament House, or the National Gallery. Drones are also restricted from flying more than 120 meters in the air or within 30 meters of people, unless the person is essential to controlling the drone.

AFP airport police commander Simon Henry said the Mount Ainslie incident should serve as a warning for other drone users to know where they are flying. “Flying drones in controlled airspace puts the safety of both Canberrans and our visitors at risk, and can lead to significant delays for travelers,” Mr. Henry said. “It is your responsibility to know where you can and can’t fly, so please become familiar with the information and tools available to you.”

Mr. Gibson said CASA has produced a smartphone app illustrating where drones are not allowed to be flown. The Can I fly there? drone safety app reflects the standard operating conditions for those flying their drone recreationally or commercially.

The 28-year-old NSW man was charged with “flying a drone in restricted airspace in Canberra.”

For more information on the rules around recreational drone use, click here.

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