Australia’s aviation safety regulator says it is investigating the appearance of a drone at the final round of the Supercars Championship held in Newcastle.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) said the unauthorised drone was spotted over the track during the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) flying display at the motorsport event on Saturday, November 23.
CASA said the alleged breaches of the safety rules could include “flying a drone in a way that threatens the safety of a person, operating in a way that threatens the safety of an aircraft and endangering a life of a person”.
“The drone was detected in close proximity to the RAAF FA-18 Hornet aircraft display flight and flying over people at the race,” CASA said in a statement on Wednesday.
“Using mobile drone surveillance equipment CASA was able to pin point the location of the person flying the drone as well as the precise flight path of the drone.
“Enquiries are continuing in relation to the drone flight at Newcastle on Saturday 23 November to gather more evidence to determine if there were serious breaches of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations.”
The NBN News website reported the drone was seen about 100 metres above the ground during the RAAF flying display.
Under current rules published on the CASA website, drones had to be flown no higher than 120 metres above ground level, no closer than 30 metres to people and not over or above people at any time or height.
Further, they were not allowed to be flown in prohibited or restricted airspace, as well as no closer than 5.5km to a controlled aerodrome or airfield if the aircraft was more than 100g. Flying near crowds or organised public events was also not allowed.
There were some exceptions for flying over your own land.
The CASA-verified safety app Opensky, developed by by Wing LLC, showed drone operators where these aircraft could be lawfully used in Australia. It was available on the Apple app store, Google Play and via a web browser.
VIDEO: A summary of the drone safety rules from the CASA YouTube channel.
The October 2019 edition of Australian Aviation included a story on the challenges of regulating unmanned aerial systems. That story can be read here.