CASA drone education campaign aims for safer skies over the Gold Coast

The Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is running a safety education campaign on the Gold Coast to promote the importance of drone operators sharing the skies with helicopters and planes.

The Know Your Drone. Share the Skies. Fly Safe. campaign by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority highlights the importance of sharing of airspace and maintaining situational awareness of other airspace users. The campaign is running across digital video and social media platforms. Digital billboards on the Gold Coast Highway and bus stops near the beach also remind operators of their responsibilities when flying in the area.

The campaign urges drone operators to use a CASA-verified drone safety app before launching their drone on the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast airspace has a high volume of traffic, particularly along the scenic coastline.

CASA-verified apps show nearby helicopter landing sites, airports and restricted airspace so users can enhance their situational awareness and can keep clear of other aircraft operating in the area.

Damien Boyer, head of uncrewed aviation for Surf Life Saving Queensland (SLSQ) said it is crucial to maintain awareness of the airspace and adhere to CASA regulations to ensure the safety of both drone operations and crewed aircraft.

SLSQ drone operations span over 10 locations along Queensland beaches and play a crucial role in beach safety, assisting lifeguards and lifesavers in surveillance, hazard detection, and response efforts.

“We also monitor shark movements, sizes, and numbers, providing valuable data to support lifesavers in keeping Queensland beaches safe,” said Damien. “It’s essential for drone operators to be vigilant. If they see the Westpac Lifesaver Rescue Helicopter or any other crewed aircraft, they must land their drone promptly and safely to avoid any interference or potential collision.”

CASA has also partnered with local authorities for the installation of permanent drone safety signage to remind drone operators that rules apply in the area they intend to fly.

Heath Macdonald, CASA’s RPAS team leader, appreciates the support authorities are providing to promote safe drone flying. “The mix of light plane and helicopter sightseeing, emergency services, flight training and recreational and commercial drone flights means we all need to be vigilant and adhere to the rules to avoid the risk of collision,” Mr Macdonald said.

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