[LINK] CT: 'So, no one is responsible [for drone noise]?'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Thu Mar 28 10:31:49 AEDT 2019

'So, no one is responsible?': Drone noise questions linger
Dan Jervis-Bardy
The Canberra Times
March 27, 2019 — 7.05pm

Air Services Australia has become the latest government agency to 
publicly distance itself from oversight of delivery drones, casting 
further uncertainty over the regulation of the technology.

The ACT government and Civil Aviation Safety Authority have previously 
said their powers and remit do not extend to the regulation of 
commercial drone noise, meaning it remains unclear which, if any, 
government authority is charged with monitoring the issue.

Air Service Australia officials Tim De Raadt, Craig Charker and Marcus 
Knauer, pictured above, appeared before the ACT Assembly's drone inquiry 
on Wednesday.

On Wednesday, senior Air Services Australia officials told the ACT 
Assembly's drone inquiry that it did monitor aircraft noise, but only 
within about five kilometres of an airport.

Concerns about noise emitted by Wing's delivery drones emerged as a key 
concern during the tech company's Bonython trial, and a large portion of 
the inquiry's public hearings has been spent attempting to establish who 
is responsible for policing it.

Liberal MLA Jeremy Hanson, who chaired the committee conducting the 
inquiry, said it appeared "nobody wanted to put their hand up and take 
responsibility for drone noise".

"Who is responsible for the noise of drones, the sort of drone that 
Project Wing is flying around suburbs in Canberra?" Mr Hanson said.

"If the answer is no one, then the answer is no one; we need to know 
that. What we are trying to do is chase down whose responsibility it is. 
And is there a regulation or an act under which they are empowered to do 

In response, Air Services Australia's acting executive general manager, 
Craig Charker, said his agency did not "interact" with drones unless 
they intended to fly within a five-kilometre radius and 120-metre 
vertical range of an airport.

"Something away from the airport, it is not something that we get 
involved with at all," Mr Charker said. "In that context, our ability to 
control and influence noise outcomes is difficult."

Mr Hanson pushed again, asking: "So in simple terms, no one is 
responsible and there is no regulation?".

Air Services Australia chief air traffic controller Marcus Nauer said 
existing noise regulations for aircraft only applied to vehicles 
weighing more than 150 kilograms, meaning light-weight drones were 
almost certainly exempt. Mr Nauer said those regulations were based on 
International Civil Aviation Organiation (ICAO) standards, which make no 
mention of drones.

"So is there a standard for drone noise anywhere in the world?" asked 
committee member and Labor MLA Suzanne Orr.

"No," Mr Charker responded.

The evidence will likely fuel community concerns about a lack of 
regulation of household delivery drones as Wing prepares to launch its 
permanent operation in Canberra's northern suburbs in the coming months.

The Google-linked company will, however, be buoyed by the appearance of 
drone supporters Adam Rucinski-Stanek and Phillip Balding at Wednesday's 

Mr Rucinski-Stanek was among the Bonython residents to use Wing's 
delivery service and said his experience was overwhelmingly positive.

"I really enjoyed it," Mr Rucinski-Stanek said.

"I guess I'm an advocate for new innovative technology. There is an 
excitement to trying something new and to have people over to my house 
to share in that excitement of getting a delivery by air, and super 

Meanwhile, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority has announced that 
prospective drone pilots will need to obtain a "flyers licence" and 
register their aircraft from July this year.

"For the first time we will know who owns a drone, where they are flying 
their drone, what sort of drone it is," the authority's spokesman, Peter 
Gibson, told ABC News on Wednesday.

"It will give us a more accurate picture of the drone population across 
Australia, [and] it will ensure that people are aware of their safety 
obligations when they fly a drone."

Roger Clarke                            mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
T: +61 2 6288 6916   http://www.xamax.com.au  http://www.rogerclarke.com

Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA 

Visiting Professor in the Faculty of Law            University of N.S.W.
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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