Model flyers flout ban

One of the signs banning the use of model aircraft on Black Swan Island. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d413616
One of the signs banning the use of model aircraft on Black Swan Island. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d413616

When the Gazette visited the site on Tuesday, January 14, two people ” who refused to give their details ” were spotted with a model aircraft in a vehicle.

Last May, the City of Belmont formally asked the WA Planning Commission (WAPC), as manager of the island and owner of most of its land, to prohibit model aircraft flying on the island.

The island is opposite Ascot Waters, accessed by Tidewater Way.

WAPC chair Eric Lumsden said two signs were erected due to public safety concerns.

‘The City cited that the number of persons flying their planes was increasing, which raised noise and safety problems, and noted a recent crash that had occurred very close to pedestrians,’ Mr Lumsden said.

‘They outlined that the activity was not compatible with passive recreational uses promoted on the island and that the risk of serious injury to people and bird life had reached a point where action needed to be taken.’

Residents of Ascot Waters wanted to remain anonymous, but expressed noise and safety concerns to the Gazette. Some said the bans on the island were unfair.

According to the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), remotely controlled model aircraft must be flown no closer than three nautical miles from an aerodrome, no closer than 30m from a person and must stay below 400ft. Fines of up to $8000 can be issued, depending on the breach.

In 2009, CASA fined a Redcliffe man for flying a model plane dangerously close to a Virgin Blue Boeing 737 about to land at Perth Airport.