Warn­ing as teen faces drone charge

Townsville Bulletin - - NEWS - AN­DREW BACKHOUSE

PO­LICE have warned res­i­dents to be aware of rules sur­round­ing the use of drones af­ter a 17year- old man was charged for fly­ing a un­manned air­craft over the Townsville 400.

Po­lice al­lege the Bur­dell teen was caught in the act of fly­ing a drone over the event on July 9 about 2.45pm.

In­spec­tor Roger Whyte said it was the first time any­one had been charged in Queens­land for op­er­at­ing an air­craft in air- space over an event un­der the Ma­jor Events Act.

Po­lice al­lege the teen pi­loted the drone from the Queens Rd end of Lou Lit­ster Park to­wards Reid Park. It hov­ered over a he­li­copter oper­a­tions area at Townsville State High School as a he­li­copter was land­ing and an­other tak­ing off.

Po­lice fol­lowed the drone to Lou Lit­ster Park and seized it.

Insp Whyte said any­one pi­lot­ing drones should visit the Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Au­thor­ity web­site and learn the rules sur­round­ing their use. “It’s law­ful to use a drone. Peo­ple just need to know where, when and how to use them,” he said.

The 17- year- old has been charged with air­craft op­er­at­ing in airspace above ma­jor event and is due to ap­pear in Townsville Mag­is­trates Court on August 10. He faces a fine of up to $ 20,000 if con­victed.

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