Goondoon St Gladstone and Gladstone Harbour taken from a DJI Mavic Air 2 drone.
Goondoon St Gladstone and Gladstone Harbour taken from a DJI Mavic Air 2 drone.

Where can you legally fly drones in Gladstone?

DRONES are growing in popularity in the Gladstone region, but with an airport in the middle of the suburbs, flying within 5.5km of it is illegal for many operators.

On May 15 alone, Harvey Norman Gladstone sold more than $10,000 worth of drones and for Leading Edge Electronics Gladstone Hi Fi, they are a regular top seller.

All drone operation in Australia is regulated by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority CASA. Spokesman Peter Gibson said people must adhere to the rules or they face fines of up to $10,500, or time in jail.

“Safety in the skies is our top priority. To keep people, property and the environment around you safe, it’s essential you know the rules that apply to you,” Mr Gibson said.

“If you don’t follow the rules when you fly, you could be hit with large fines and even possible jail time.”

One legal place in the area anyone can fly at is the Gladstone Model Aero Club.

The club meets every Sunday from 8am at its airfield on Guerassimoff Rd, Gladstone.

Gladstone region drone operators, in particular, must follow certain rules due to the location of the airport, Mr Gibson said.

“Unless you are licenced or have permission to do so, the drone safety rules state that you must not fly too close to airports or aerodromes (a 5.5km exclusion zone applies),” Mr Gibson said.

“You can’t fly higher than 120m (400ft) above ground level – that’s about the height of a 35-storey building or length of a football field and you must remain 30m away from people.

“Only fly one drone at a time, during the day only and always keep your drone in visual line of sight.

“You must not fly behind trees, buildings or anything else that stops you seeing your drone at all times.

“If flying in national parks, you must check the Queensland Government rules that apply.”

Gladstone Harbour taken by a DJI Mavic Air 2 drone.
Gladstone Harbour taken by a DJI Mavic Air 2 drone.

For people flying drones that weigh less than 2kg, or on their own property where permitted, these rules apply.

“If you are flying a drone under the excluded categories ‘Sub 2kg’ or ‘Flying over your own land’, you’ll need to get accredited – regardless of the weight of your drone,” Mr Gibson said.

“You’ll need to watch a short safety video and pass an online quiz.

“Accreditation lasts for three years and provides you with an accreditation certificate for flying and supervising others.

“Anyone under the age of 16 will need to be supervised by an accredited adult (over 18) at all times when they fly.”

A Remote Pilot Licence RePL is available for commercial purposes, plus for drones weighing more than 2kg.

“You’ll need to apply for a RePL if you want to fly a drone larger than 2kg for commercial operations - any time you earn money for flying,” Mr Gibson said.

“Or if you want to fly outside the drone safety rules (standard operating conditions) or for a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holder.

“If you want to fly for commercial purposes, you must also either hold a ReOC or work for a ReOC holder.”

For more information and to do your accreditation quiz visit www.casa.gov.au/drones.



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