1 Aug 2015

New drone rules come into effect

12:28 pm on 1 August 2015

New rules requiring people to get certificates so they can fly drones come into effect today, but the Civil Aviation Authority says so far only eight people have applied.

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Photo: Supplied

Those who don't have the operating certificates must get consent from the property owners their drones fly over.

CAA general manager of general aviation Steve Moore admitted the numbers were low, but he was confident people were not planning on flouting the rules.

"We've had a number of enquiries from people who have signalled their intention to apply for certification - I'm talking hundreds of enquiries," he said.

He said the CAA would not be actively policing the new rules and would rely on people to contact it.

The rule change has been prompted by a growing number of incidents involving drones.

In 2011, there was just one incident reported to the CAA, but there have been more than 50 so far this year.

Steve Moore said most of those involved drones flying too close to airports, but said there had been a few privacy complaints made too, one involving a CAA staff member.

"He had just recently purchased [a drone] and was flying it in his backyard, but in doing that it flew over the fence and to his neighbours it appeared he was spying on them," he said,

"But he was able to show them the film he was taking and that he wasn't directing the camera towards their property."

Complaints about privacy are made to either the police or Privacy Commission.

A spokesperson for the commission said it had only received one complaint this year.

"We are supportive of the changes, particularly of the prohibition on flying over private property unless permission is obtained from all affected people," he said.

"This is because this does have privacy implications for people and offers them some protection from drones that are fitted with cameras."

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