Brisbane City Council has designated areas in 10 parks as ‘drone zones’ so pilots can fly their recreational unmanned aerial vehicles within regulations.
The sixth month trial – the first of its kind in Australia – has begun this week.
“Several parks across Brisbane have been chosen to include designated areas for flying drones and other remotely piloted aircraft. These locations will be monitored as part of a six-month trial and reviewed regularly,” the council said.
Although drones weighing under 0.5kg could always be flown from the parks, the new zones allow for UAVs weighing up to 2kg, as long as they are electric, fitted with propeller guards and don’t endanger or cause nuisance to park users and adjoining properties.
Pilots must follow existing Civil Aviation Safety Authority rules. Any breaches of CASA rules for flying from or over a council park are enforceable by CASA, the council said.
The trial includes designated areas in The Common Park, Preston Road Park, Carindale Recreation Reserve, Canterbury Park, Lacey Road Park, Wishart Community Park, Voyager Drive Park, Cliveden Park, Moggill Ferry Reserve and Keperra Picnic Ground Park.
The announcement follows a Queensland government consultation paper, released in August, which addressed the business opportunities and regulatory challenges presented by drones.
“An overarching action will be to investigate establishing a system and/or guidelines of zoning within Queensland for different drone applications. These ‘drone zones’ would aim to ensure that business, industry, academia, government and the community are clear on where, when and for what drones can be tested, researched and used,” the paper stated.
The drone zones come just in time for Christmas, during which the number of drones in Australia is expected to rise further. There are an estimated 50,000 users of recreational drones across the country.
In May, CASA launched a smartphone app which helps drone operators avoid restricted airspace, and reminds them of safety rules. In October the authority launched DroneFlyer.com.au as a resource for recreational pilots, and earlier this week release a ‘fly responsibly’ Christmas video.
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