Australia’s top air safety regulator is investigating the filming of Sunday night’s finale episode of The Block Glasshouse after Gold Logie winner Scott Cam was shown operating a large camera drone.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) was tipped off by a viewer on Monday and CASA confirmed on Tuesday it would be contacting High Alpha Media, the company contracted to film aerial shots for The Block Glasshouse, for a “please explain.”
Scott Cam may also face questions, although both Channel 9 and High Alpha Media both deny Cam was actually operating the drone.
It is understood a “range” of safety regulations may have been breached. Penalties run from a four-figure fine to the loss of the company’s operating licence.
High Alpha Media director, Ben Lodge, told News Corp Australia he didn’t expect to hear from CASA.
“No, absolutely not. There’s nothing wrong with the shot. Scott Cam obviously wasn’t flying it. And obviously if Scott Cam was to fly it he requires a licence and the appropriate approvals,” Lodge said.
Co-creator of The Block Glasshouse Julian Cress confirmed via a spokesman Cam didn’t have a licence but said on email “but you don’t need a licence to hold the remote while somebody else flies it!”
“It is not yet clear who was operating the RPA (remotely piloted aircraft) or when the operation took place,” CASA spokesman Peter Gibson said.
It is believed CASA inspectors attended episodes of The Block Glasshouse when the camera drone was being operated.
“CASA will speak with relevant people to determine the circumstances of the RPA flight and determine if any RPA breach of the safety regulations has occurred,” the CASA spokesman said.
“If a breach of the safety regulations has occurred CASA will take appropriate enforcement action.”
High Alpha Media, whose clients listed on its website include Channels 7, 9 and 10 and SBS, BHP Billiton, Mirvac, the Australian Open, BMW, NAB and Red Bull, were using a seven kg drone.
Any camera drone over two kgs requires both the controller — as the pilot — to have a controllers certificate and the organisation to have an operators certificate.
Industry lobbyists would like to see the two kg limit strengthened, particularly in the wake of accidents such as one in involving a drone filming a marathon in WA which CASA has asked the DPP to prosecute.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com