No drone zone

Mt Hotham Falls Creek - - FRONT PAGE - ByVANESSA BURGESS

FALLS Creek has banned the use of all drone air­craft within the re­sort fol­low­ing con­cerns users may breach rules rec­om­mended by the Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Au­thor­ity (CASA).

The ban came into ef­fect on June 17, af­ter Fall Creek Re­sort Man­age­ment Board (FCRMB) ref­er­enced the CASA, via Civil Avi­a­tion Safety Reg­u­la­tions part 101 (CASR101) to ad­dress con­cerns re­gard­ing prop­erty dam­age, pri­vacy and public safety.

Drones are clas­si­fied as Un­manned Aerial Ve­hi­cles (UAV) and Re­motely Pi­loted Air­craft (RPA).

FCRMB CEO Stu­art Smythe said ban­ning the use of drone air­craft within the re­sort has been done to en­sure users do not breach the rules as rec­om­mended by the CASA.

“The pro­lif­er­a­tion in Point of View cam­eras and now this next evo­lu­tion with thrill seek­ers want­ing to use drones to cap­ture and record footage of users ex­ploits needs to be care­fully man­aged,” Mr Smythe said. “The CASA guide­lines are very clear. “The re­sort sim­ply can­not al­low such de­vices in the in­ter­ests of public safety and with re­spect to dam­age to prop­erty, in­fra­struc­ture and peo­ple in gen­eral.

“The ‘fol­low me drones’ don’t have man­ual con­trol and can’t see ob­struc­tions like lifts and build­ings, so they are quite dan­ger­ous and we could end up with these things drop­ping out of the sky, which isn’t safe.”

Suit­ably qual­i­fied op­er­a­tors can ap­ply for per­mits to use drones within the re­sort, but Mr Smythe said they would need proof of cer­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“The re­sort will is­sue per­mits for use Falls Creek and Mt Hotham recorded im­pres­sive visi­tor num­bers dur­ing the first two weeks of the sea­son and Tas­ma­nian sis­ters Mil­lie (front) and Char­lotte Beach were just two of the many thou­sands who en­joyed some snow time. See page 3 for story. by suit­ably qual­i­fied and ex­pe­ri­enced op­er­a­tors based on proof of CASA com­pli­ance and cer­ti­fied op­er­a­tional sta­tus – with par­tic­u­lar use for com­mer­cial or pro­mo­tional op­por­tu­ni­ties only,” he said.

“As an ac­tive re­sort and with a prod­uct of­fer­ing in­clud­ing the Heli Link be­tween Falls Creek and Mt Hotham, our air space is ac­tive enough.

Mr Smythe said the CASA di­rec­tive makes it very clear with re­gards to where it is ap­pro­pri­ate to op­er­ate drones and ski re­sorts sim­ply don’t qual­ify.

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