Yesterday afternoon a hobbyist flying a DJI Phantom drone at the Australian War Memorial crashed his aircraft and is now likely to be under investigation by the Civil Aviation and Safety Authority (CASA).
While details are not entirely clear, EFTM understands the drones owner was visiting Canberra from New South Wales and was likely flying over and around the War Memorial as it is one of the most visually spectacular sites in Canberra.
The problems begin when you understand the advice and regulations issues by CASA around private drone flights. They clearly stipulate that you should not fly within 5km of an Airport, and the Australian War Memorial is well within that range.
Perhaps more troubling is the clear regulation that states that one should not fly within 30m of buildings or people, and to crash on the grounds of the War Memorial would almost certainly mean that regulation was breached.
Additionally, the regulations state that you should not fly over groups of people – EFTM understands the crash may have occurred during the closing ceremony a the War Memorial – a daily playing of the national anthem, tributes and the playing of the Last Post. This occurs at 4.55pm daily. If the accident did occur at that time, you can imagine people would have certainly been gathered around.
It’s not clear how close the drone fell to people, or if it crashed into the building or failed in flight.
We understand that the Australian Federal Police attended the War Memorial in response to the incident, and obtained the owners details, and the drone has been confiscated by the AWM.
CASA regulations are not the domain of the AFP, so EFTM understands that the War Memorial will likely pass on details of the incident to CASA for investigation.
At the very least the owner is up for a fine not least $850 as was the case in the first reported fine in Australia which we reported here last year.
The AFP referred EFTM to the Australian War Memorial. CASA confirmed they were alerted to the incident last night and are awaiting details and evidence from the War Memorial.
The Australian War Memorial was unable to give any additional details – stating only that “This is a security incident which has been referred to police and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). As it is now a police matter, we will not be making further comment.”
Main Photo by Simon Yeo