by George Nott

Pauline Hanson’s drone’s on net, CASA investigating

Jul 10, 2017

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority is investigating whether Pauline Hanson breached safety rules, after the senator posted a video of her flying a drone from a Townsville high-rise.

Senator Hanson posted a clip to Twitter on Wednesday showing her piloting a drone from the balcony of an apartment block.

“I’m flying the drone here. First time ever. And, oop, up and down, right here we go. Now we’re going to go out, hahaha. Oh golly. As long as I keep it under 400ft I’m right,” Hanson says in the clip. “But anyway that’s the first time I’ve ever done this.”

In the clip Hanson says the drone belongs to One Nation chief of staff James Ashby.

The senator is potentially in breach of a number of CASA safety guidelines concerning drone use.

Rules state that drones “must not fly closer than 30 metres to vehicles, boats, buildings or people” or be flown “over populous areas”.

CASA were alerted to the video by a number of individuals on social media, including CIO Australia.

CASA spokesperson Peter Gibson said the authority would be seeking to speak to Senator Hanson about the video.

“We will be speaking with the Senator as soon as possible. She is overseas right now. We have reviewed the video and have a number of questions to ask of the drone operator. CASA will then decide what action to take. It is too early to say if any safety rules may have been breached.”

CASA has the power to issue fines for breaching safety regulations up to $9000. If someone is injured by a drone, the authority can seek prosecution.

“The video is a timely reminder of the importance of always following the drone safety rules,” Gibson added.

“You must fly recreational drones more than 30 metres from people, not over crowds or groups of people, not cause a hazard to people, property or aircraft and stay under 400ft in controlled airspace. You must not fly on the approach or departure paths of airports.”

Speaking on Sydney radio station 2GB, Hanson denied she had done anything wrong.

“Throw the cuffs on me, take me away, drag me away, I’ve been there done that, it’s nothing new for me,” she said. “I don’t need a fine, I don’t want a fine.

“It was not anywhere near a public place, it was not over a public field, it was not within 30 metres of anyone, it was over gravel, there was no danger to anyone, it was not near an airport.”

In 2015, a Queensland drone pilot received an$850 finebased on videos he had uploaded to YouTube.

In May, CASA launched a smartphone app which helps recreational drone pilots avoid restricted airspace, and reminds them of safety rules.