Have you got the low-down on drone rules?
IF YOU were given a new drone for Christmas it's important to learn the rules regarding where you can fly it.
Australia's recreational drone safety rules are designed to protect other people in the air and on the ground.
Tim Cheetham from Aerial Media Gladstone said everyone should be aware of the Civial Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) regulations for drones before taking to the air.
"I've seen lots of examples of irresponsible use," he said.
"Like someone launching a drone off a towel in the middle of a crowded beach.
"Flying a drone over any group of people is definitely against the rules."
He said Gladstone drone owners had to be very aware of flight paths around the city.
"You must not operate within 5.5km of a major airport," Mr Cheetham said.
"And that includes the departure and approach of the airport.
"Especially for operators in suburbs like Kin Kora, Sun Valley, Telina, Toolooa and Glen Eden where planes come down quite low over those places.
"When you open the box your drone came in there will be a little flyer with all the information for flying it by the rules," he said.
"Any drone sold in Australia has that flyer, so pleading ignorance is not an excuse."
He said he's been made aware that CASA may be bringing in mandatory drone registration next year.
"Part of that will be to register a drone you will have to sit a little test," Mr Cheetham said.
"That way if you are caught breaking the law, particularly near or over an airport, then you might feel the full effect of the law.
"Fines can be as high as $5000 for breaking the rules or even jail for major offences."
To help raise awareness of the regulations, he recommended people download the 'Can I Fly There' app.
"There's a lot of information on the CASA website, but it can be a bit much for a novice to trawl through," he said.
"The app has the zones on it and as soon as you turn it on it will tell you where and how high you can fly at that particular location.
"And there is a menu with all the rules on it as well as a reminder."
For more information visit the CASA website: www.casa.gov.au/modelaircraft or the Drone Flyer website: https://droneflyer.gov.au/