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Drone Flood Footage A Potential Risk To Emergency Choppers

Aviation authority gives the thumbs down

Drone Flood Footage A Potential Risk To Emergency Choppers

Pic: RACQ Capricorn Helicopter Rescue

While plenty may be enjoying scrolling through the hours of drone footage of this week's flooding across Queensland and New South Wales (guilty pleasure anyone?), aviation officials are really not happy. 

Drone operators have been warned they'll cop fines if they don't steer clear of airports and emergency services aircraft. 

The Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA) says emergency crews are being put at risk, because of the unmanned aircraft. 

"While a number of airports in the Cyclone Debbie and flood-affected areas are closed to normal traffic, they are being heavily used by rescue, medical and emergency service aircraft,"

CASA's Peter Gibson says it could be a case of life or death.  

"Just this week, one person was flying a drone just off the end of the main runway at Rockhampton Airport. That airport is really busy at the moment with emergency and rescue aircraft coming and going all day." 

Peter says even the smallest recreation drones can be endangering.

 "People have just got to understand that drones and aircraft don't mix and drones and emergency situations don't mix,"

"If you've got a drone, leave it at home during emergencies"

The advice is to leave the surveying of damage for the professionals: 

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Fines can range from $900 to $9000.

Commercial drones cannot fly within 5.5km of an airport without permission.

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