- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 9, 2016

An Australian man who used his drone to have a sausage delivered to his Sunbury, Victoria home is now facing hefty fines from federal regulators.

Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has opened an investigation into a viral video showing the sausage stunt, a spokesman for the agency said Wednesday.

The video footage shows an unidentified man placing a note inside a bag tethered to the bottom of a hobbyist drone and then deploying the device toward a Bunnings Warehouse location, a regional hardware chain known throughout Australia for its weekend “sausage sizzles.”

“Please buy a snag [sausage] and put in bag. Here’s $10,” the note said.

The 2.5-minute clip shows portions of the drone’s journey before concluding with footage of the pilot enjoying his sausage from a hot tub in the yard of a Sunbury home.

CASA spokesman Peter Gibson says the stunt may have run afoul of several regulations, and told reporters this week that the agency may push for fines of up to $9,000 Australian dollars, or around $6,900 in U.S. currency.

“Just launching a recreational drone out of your backyard, flying 2km or so across the suburbs, across a four lane road, across the Bunnings’ carpark and down to a sausage sizzle, is not thinking about the safety issues or planning for them,” Mr. Gibson said Wednesday, 3AW reported.

“A busy retail car park is never a sensible place to fly a drone,” he told News Corp. “You can clearly see people walking to and from their cars, you can clearly see people around the sausage sizzle,” he added to Fairfax media.

The video, Mr. Gibson added, shows “a classic example of a place where you should never fly a drone.”

“Drone flyers must understand the rules are contained in the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations and there are penalties of up to $9,000 for proven breaches,” said the spokesman. “If the drone flyer lost control of the machine right above the people at the sausage sizzle there would be a real risk of injury.”

“We want to see people have fun with their drones but if you don’t respect the rules then you putting people at risk and there are penalties for doing that,” Mr Gibson said.

Speaking to EFTM, an Australian men’s lifestyle website, the pilot behind the sausage stunt said initially posted the video to YouTube but removed it upon learning that CASA was considering imposing fines.

“We shot it in parts, never going over homes or people,” the pilot said.

Operating a drone within 30 meters of people, out of the line of sight and over a populous area are all prohibited under Australian drone policy, according to Fairfax.

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