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Senate committee wants all drones registered

Quadcopter hoons on notice

By Richard Chirgwin, 10 May 2017

That sound you can hear is Australia's drone army angrily hammering their keyboards to try and fend off the threat of re-regulation.

The Senate Standing Committee on Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport, amid an inquiry due to report in December 2017, has written to infrastructure and transport minister Darren Chester with the request.

The letter went off to the minister in April, but was only announced by the committee yesterday.

The committee reckons drone safety regulations aren't keeping up, and in working through its 79 submissions, a theme has emerged that both the general public and the aviation sector are worried about hobby-drone safety.

From the announcement:

“Immediate action should be taken to make drone use safer. In particular, there are growing concerns both within the aviation industry and amongst the general public about the safety of recreational drone use. These concerns emanate from an increasing number of reports of aviation incidents and mounting fears of the real prospect of a serious accident”.

The committee's most urgent requests are that owners undergo safety training; that CASA be given the power to track all drones regardless of size; and geofencing of airports and high-traffic zones.

The letter adds that the committee is also considering measures mandating flight logging and the display of registration marks.

Current rules covering recreational drones include a 120 metre ceiling, a 30 metre exclusion around vehicles, boats, buildings and people, and operators have to keep their units within sight at all times. ®

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