Growing anger about noisy drones has prompted a national review into remote flying by both commercial and recreational pilots.
- The Federal Government plans to complete a formal review into noise of drones by the end of the year
- The review will cover both commercial and recreational drone use
- It has been prompted by the response to Google-backed delivery drone trial in Canberra
A statement from Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack confirmed that, while the Government had been considering noise issues since March, it now intends to complete a formal review by the end of the year.
The review “will consider the community noise impact of drone operations, the size, frequency and nature of drone operations (recreational and commercial), and existing safety regulations administered by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority”, it stated.
The Department of Infrastructure quietly updated its website this week claiming it has “formed the view” that a range of drone operations require noise approvals following community backlash to a Canberra trial.
“The review will examine state and territory regulations that commonly cover noise from equipment operating in urban environments,” Mr McCormack’s statement read.
“It will also look at developments overseas and industry innovation to reduce noise impacts through better drone design and operations including varying flight paths.”
Wing, a Google-linked company, has been undertaking a limited service in Canberra’s northern suburbs using drones to deliver food and other items.
Permissions provided by the Department of Infrastructure for its operation expires on July 31.
A Wing spokesperson declined to address the expiry of its approval, but said the company “secures all of the necessary permissions required to operate our service before we commence flying”.
“We will continue to work collaboratively with all Australian regulators.”
Noise complaints were common among approximately 150 submissions to the ACT parliamentary committee reviewing Wing’s Canberra trial earlier this year.
One contribution said “no-one can fully appreciate their obnoxiousness unless they have experienced them”.
Another claimed the flights even woke them from sleep.
“The drones were … accompanied by varying profoundly irritating sounds, such as high-pitched screaming, screeching, buzzing, whining, zooming”.
No escape for hobbyists
The establishment of the review continues a trend for increasing regulation of the controversial devices.
Accreditation schemes have been introduced, no-fly zones around airports policed and use in national parks has been curtailed in recent years.
Drone manufacturers have also attempted to address noise complaints by introducing quieter models.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has recently invested in drone detection devices which track drones and their pilots in cases of unauthorised use.
In April, an infringement notice was issued to a 28-year-old New South Wales man who flew a drone too close to Canberra Airport.