back to article Drone owners told: stay out of bushfire skies

Idiots with toy UAVs, a thirst for self-promotion, and no idea about safety have been told in no uncertain terms to stay away from bushfire grounds in Australia. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has warned owners of quad-copters and other UAVs to stay out of the air in bushfire emergencies, after a particularly …


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  1. jake Silver badge

    Fucking idiots. Stay the hell away from professional airspace ...

    ... when professionals are working. What are you trying to do? Kill people?

    So-called "news" choppers are bad enough, without the addition of numpties who have absolutely zero clue how many issues their toys bring to an already emergency situation.

    Speaking as a volunteer fireman ... and a pilot.

  2. tkioz

    It's bad enough that fire-fighters have to deal with reporters, visiting royals, and politicians looking to get their face in the paper, now they need to deal with idiots trying to get youtube hits...

  3. CompuGuide

    Let's be realistic here ...

    While I'm not defending the numpties, just how much damage is a styrofoam quadcopter going to inflict on a helicopter? At a guess far less than a copter/bird collision, the likelihood of which must be much greater in a firestorm.

    1. poopypants

      Re: Let's be realistic here ...

      I may be wrong, but I imagine the four electric motors in a quadcopter are not made of styrofoam, and that whatever they are made of (mostly metal would be my guess) might cause more trouble to a rotor than something that is more deformable (flesh and bone, for example).

    2. John Tserkezis

      Re: Let's be realistic here ...

      "just how much damage is a styrofoam quadcopter going to inflict on a helicopter?"

      Quite a lot. If you get the thing caught in the rotor blades, you'll bring both birds down.

      One costs several hundred dollars, and carries a payload of a cheap-shit chinese camera.

      The other costs several million dollars, and carries a payload of (among lots of other things), several human lives.

      If you need the assistance of diagrams for the purpose explaination, I can draw the resulting carnage in crayon if you like (lots of black crayon for burnt everything, and red crayon for well, you guess). As a bonus extra, an additional diagram of yourself firmly located behind bars (lots of white crayon for tears). Now do you get it?

    3. iLurker

      Re: Let's be realistic here ...

      As a paraglider pilot who has had a collision with a styrofoam model aircraft in the air, the risk is real.

      At the speed a paraglider file its just painful, but no lasting injury. As the speeds of real aircraft or rotating blades the damage will be catastrophic and the consequences quite serious.

    4. hoola Bronze badge

      Re: Let's be realistic here ...


      Not that long ago (weeks I believe) some idoit either killed himself or a bystander when his model helicopter went out of control.

      These pillocks are flying them in adverse conditions with no respect for the safety of others.

      YouTube should probably be taking the videos down as that would instantly remove the much of the problem.

      1. Myvekk

        Re: Let's be realistic here ...

        Big difference between the 2. The guy who killed himself was known for high risk aerobatic stunts with a several hundred to thousand dollar R/C helicopter.

        The footage of the fires was taken with a relatively light, cheap & small quadcopter carrying a GoPro. It could still cause some damage to a heli, but there was no evidence that it was flying when there were any around. In this particular case.

  4. Paul J Turner

    Can't have that!

    People posting far higher quality and more engaging content than the regular news channels and their licenced content. (If you had posted the link, people would have seen for themselves how poor it made 'sanctioned' video look, good call)

    Plus, I recognised a section of the video on the national news days ago, anyone chastising them for supporting the excellent work?

    Of course, if said video makers had posessed news or journalism credentials, we would have been reading a piece about the state interfering with journalistic freedom.

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  6. Robert Masters

    Playing nice...

    Thing is, if they sought permission they may have got it in certain limited ways. CASA are actaully pretty easy to work with (I have had frequent dealings with them as RSO (Range Safety Officer) for the local rocketry club - albeit some years ago), and will often even give you permission to fly in all sorts of restricted airspaces provided you confirm each flight with the local ATCs and/or towers.

    On the other hand, provided they kept below 300'AGL, they were below controlled airspace, and so mostly out of CASAs control - but not their authority. (Incidentally, did you know that you are not allowed to fly a kite above 300'AGL without clearance? For that reason kite lines are sold with a maximum length of 50M to ensure a reasonable margin. You can buy longer ones, but they will be custom supplied.)

    On the gripping hand, in the presence of water bombers and similar aircraft (crop dusters, aircraft on approach, etc), CASA's controlled space can extend all the way to the ground, so always check the current NOTAMs (NOtice To AirMen) before flying anything.

    In short, they screwed up, broke air safety regs, and were berks. Further, judging from the dust kickups, the copter they were flying was not a small beast, and I would have not wanted anything to run into it. Yes they got good footage, but only by doing something dangerous and illegal. As I said. Berks.

    1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

      Re: Playing nice...

      "out of CASAs control - but not their authority"

      What does this mean in practice?

      1. Robert Masters

        Re: Playing nice...

        In practice this means that CASA cannot directly observe in that airspace (ground clutter and other matters), but are still responsible for aerial activities in it.

        If things are reported in that airspace they have authority to investigate if they deem it appropriate.

        1. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

          Re: Playing nice...

          Right, cheers. I was thinking of "control" in the wrong context.

  7. damingo

    Or just boom

    It should read....

    "CASA and the Rural Fire Service have both said that if drones are seen at or near fire-grounds, they would have little choice but to [SHOOT THEM DOWN WITH PREJUDICE]."

    1. Paul J Turner

      Re: Or just boom

      ReallY? That's strange, because at 3:51 on the video (you'll have to trust me) the drone overflies the operator who is standing in a group of half a dozen RFS volunteers.

  8. andro

    My mate has one of these. Ive used it with him to get some great footage, but have kept it away from everyone because the risks are real. Its about 50cm from side to side, made of hard plastic (not styrofoam) and quite soild. It would make a mess of a chopper stabilising rotor if it hit it, thats for sure.

    Great device, but you need to respect the law and use common sense if you are going to fly one.

  9. Winkypop Silver badge

    Simple respect

    Professionals working, under extreme conditions, please keep clear.

  10. Steven Roper

    And so once again

    a few idiots ruin it for the rest of us. Just like those little fuckwits with laser pointers aiming them at aircraft caused the government to ban laser pointers above 1 mW for everybody.

    Given that this is the Nanny State Republic of Ausfailia, expect to see legislation very soon banning all use of RC aircraft anywhere except by law enforcement and registered personnel, using this as an excuse to take away yet another small liberty. It's what our government does best.

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