The price of fun: CASA fines for drone activity at Kyneton reservoir

Fun has come with a high price tag for two men fined over a daring drone fishing stunt at Upper Coliban Reservoir, Kyneton, last year.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority has issued nearly $4000 in fines for aiding and abetting unlawful drone flight following a four-month investigation and two house raids.
Project leader, Sunbury local Tim French, told the Express he was “pretty disappointed that CASA didn’t see the fun and innovative side of it”.
The stunt in question saw Kyneton fisherman Sam Foreman dangle metres above the water, suspended in a chair to fish from a $20,000 custom-made drone developed as a hobby project over two years.
A group of four men in their 20s were involved and found instant fame from a viral video showcasing their handiwork and the first known aerial fishing attempt of its kind.
The drone activity came to the attention of Coliban Water staff on a routine patrol of the reservoir on August 17 who reported it to CASA.
The resulting investigation saw Tim fined $2730 for three breaches of regulation while his stuntman Sam was fined $1050.
CASA told the Express, “fines are commonly issued for breaches of the drone safety rules. These fines range from just under $1000 upwards”.
A keen drone enthusiast, Tim had a brush with CASA in 2016 after he made national headlines flying his cashed up drone into queue for a Bunnings sausage delivery and sharing the video to YouTube.
That incident also landed him a hefty fine but he now assures any future drone activity will be better managed.
“Next time we’ll take steps to research more and make sure everything is done a bit more by the book,” Tim said.
Since the stunt, Tim’s drone-building capabilities have gained international interest and he has received invitations to attend various aviation events. He says he is “now in negotiations with a flying car company”.

Sam Foreman was the fisherman in the sky.

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