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Stay safe, leave your drone at home!

Civil Aviation Safety Authority 2 mins read

Drone operators are urged to play it safe and avoid stiff fines during this month’s Vivid Sydney festival, which runs from 24 May to 15 June 2024.

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and New South Wales Police (NSW Police) say unauthorised drones operating during the day or night at the event pose a major risk to public safety and other airspace users.

Authorities say there is a potential for operators to harm people on the ground if a drone were to crash due to a collision or a loss of visual contact or control.

Drone operators should not be operating in Sydney Harbour as it is restricted airspace. It is an offence to operate a drone or other form of aircraft without prior authorisation. North Sydney vantage points including McMahons Point, Kirribilli, Kurraba Point, Cremorne Point and Curraghbeena Point are also located in a no drone zone.

‘NSW Police will be out in force using drone detection equipment. So, if you operate an unauthorised drone in the restricted areas, you can expect a tap on the shoulder from police,’ said Superintendent Anthony Bell, Commander of Major Events Group.

CASA is urging all drone flyers to learn the drone safety rules and understand the drone licencing and flight authorisation requirements.

While many drone operators are aware that drones can’t be flown near airports and major landmarks, there are other drone safety rules and airspace restrictions they need to know.

‘You must hold the correct licence and certification  and apply for CASA approval to fly in and around Sydney Harbour,’ said CASA senior inspector Mark Lewis.

If you fly a drone for fun, you are not permitted to fly at night. Drones must not be operated where large crowds are present or in and around Sydney Harbour due to helicopters and seaplanes that have permission to fly there, often at low altitudes.

This is relevant for budding photographers who intend to launch their drone to capture photos or videos of the event. Simply, don’t do it without the right approvals in place.

Fines of up to $1,565 per offence and other penalties apply if you break the drone safety rules or if your drone becomes a hazard to other aircraft.

Drone operators are encouraged to use a CASA-verified drone safety app, available for free from the Know Your Drone website. The mobile apps and web applications give location-based information with easy-to-use maps to show where you can and can’t fly your drone.

They should also learn the drone safety rules before taking-off, by visiting


Date 16 May 2024


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Mobile: 1300 773 806                                         


Reference number:  MR 1324  


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