UAV operator “not certified” according to ACUO, after triathlete injured by UAV in Geraldton

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Australian Certified UAV Operators (ACUO) have today said local business New Era Film and Photography are not a holder of a CASA UAV Operator Certificate (UOC).

This comes after yesterday’s incident where a triathlete was struck on the head by a UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle, or drone) according to witnesses and the triathlete herself, Raija Ogden.

Everything Geraldton has since spoke to the business owner Warren Abrams who is still adamant he does in fact hold the proper certification.

“My registration number is 819 640,” he said.

“I obtained my UAV Operator Certificate in February 2013 and at the time CASA told me that I was the third person in Australia to obtain this.”

Warren went onto say that he believes CASA have not updated their records.

Brad Mason from the ACUO, an independent not for profit organisation with members from around Australia who operate UAV’s, said that the number Mr Abrams quoted is not a licence number for flying a UAV. “It sounds like an ARN, which doesn’t mean anything,” said Mr Mason. An ARN is a registration number that is used to simply correspond with CASA. “The number a licensed UAV operator should have is a combination of letters and numbers,” said Mr Mason.

A statement by ACUO said research they conducted revealed that there was no records of New Era Film and Photography holding the certification.

“The alleged operator of the UAV was not the holder of a CASA UAV Operator Certificate (UOC),” the statement said.

“ACUO’s own research conducted today indicates the alleged operator has been active for some time, following several claims by the alleged operator in media interviews, including with the West Australian regional media in March 2013 to be a CASA certificate holder.”

ACUO confirmed that the alleged operator of the UAV was not, nor has ever attempted to become, a member of the organisation. ACUO can also confirm that they have today acted to ensure CASA is aware of the alleged operator’s previous claims to be a certified operator as part of the matters arising from the weekend’s accident.

“What happened during the Endure Batavia Triathlon must be fully investigated,” says President of ACUO Joe Urli.

“The very act of flying a UAV low over the head of members of the public is a direct breach of Part 101 of the Australian Civil Aviation Regulations which clearly mandates a minimum separation of 30 meters.

“The circumstances by which the air vehicle came to be in close proximity with the triathlete and the subsequent events culminating in her being physically injured is not acceptable by any standards of professional airmanship.

“To the female triathlete ACUO says this: We are appalled by what happened to you at the weekend. We believe you are entitled to a full explanation as to how and why the accident happened. We are sorry that the apparent actions of an uncertified operator have caused you injury and pain. As a peak industry body we will do all we can to ensure that no person has to again endure the events as experienced by you.”

Raija Ogden received head injuries during Geraldton’s Endure Batavia Triathlon yesterday and was taken to hospital where she received stitches.

Mr Abrams has made several claims that the UAV didn’t hit Mrs Ogden and that it merely frightened her, causing her to fall to the ground and sustain the injuries. According to The Geraldton Guardian, Mr Abrams said footage taken by the drone showed the athlete Mrs Ogden look backwards toward the approaching drone, become frightened, and then fall over injuring herself.

The Geraldton Guardian also spoke to Mrs Ogden who said the propeller from the drone struck her on the front of her head and that the ambulance crew pulled a piece of propeller from her head.

Today Mr Abrams said he was unable to make comment on whether the athlete in question had actually been hit, and an enquiry is ongoing and that a statement would be released in the next couple of days.

See previous story – Unfortunate Accident at Triathlon

 

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77 Comments

  1. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe being certified to fly one of these devices is completely appropriate. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable thinking just anyone could be operating these potentially dangerous and intrusive devices. This whole situation is very unfortunate though for all involved :-( and to think this incident has gone global!

  2. Correct me if I’m wrong but I believe being certified to fly one of these devices is completely appropriate. I certainly wouldn’t be comfortable thinking just anyone could be operating these potentially dangerous and intrusive devices. This whole situation is very unfortunate though for all involved :-( and to think this incident has gone global!

  3. You shouldn’t need to be certified, it’s a glorified rc helicopter, and you can buy them willy nilly, but as for the channel hopping claim that’s bullshit man up and take responsibility that a mistake was made it would make a lot and I mean a lot less drama

  4. You could get hit by a kid on a pushbike and cause the same damage or people kicking a footy at the beach or being dunked by a wave.
    Where does it stop.
    I am sure if there was no incident the bloke would have been praised for volunteering his services.
    And now ya all bagging the crap out of him.

  5. Wayne – its the fact he’s not admitting fault, trying to blame other crap, yes accidents happen.. Claims it was hacked, then said it didnt hit her? why claim it was hacked then? Would love to see the footage from it, that will tell the story

  6. No wonder people dont volunteer for things these days.
    Go to do something for the community and then go home and pack ya bags cause ya gonna lose ya house.
    Accidents happen every day.

  7. Chopper Read was a career criminal and killer; hardly a societal role model!

    These UAVs are regulated because of their sudden growth in use and their potential to cause injury. This is regulation most of us would support, especially the athlete who was hurt whether directly or indirectly.

  8. Crikey people.
    Dont go outside if ya dont wanna get hurt.
    Every step you take could be your last.
    But instead you go and make noise about some more legislation for this and that.
    All legislation is money for the government and less freedom for the people.
    I fear for the Australia my grandchildren are going to inherit.
    The stories we tell them of freedoms and good times will be just that.
    Stories.

  9. I wonder if the people that plugged in the PA equipment had a temporary electrical license to use extension cords and power points on the generator?

  10. They are certified as a matter of fact and they showed them them the certificate today, Warren was the 3rd person to be certified in Australia. People shouldn’t assume things.

  11. Accidents do happen (even to multimillion dollar jets), that’s why certified operators have safety management systems in place to reduce the risk and spend $40,000 per year on liability insurance. Insurance companies will not cover illegal operators as they don’t cover unlicenced drivers.

  12. No OC (licence) no insurance. The potential public liability dwarfs the fines that might be imposed. Don’t see why Warren continues to pretend that he has an OC.

  13. No doubt it was an accident. Just like accidentally crashing a car when driving too close to another car and not having insurance and a licence

  14. All you judgemental people who think they know everything but reallt know sweet FA are going ti try and ruin this mans bread and butter…..as for all of you slagging off about sueing……I hope Warren sues you all for defamation. Do any of you actually know him and his family? I take my hat off to you Warren, I know you are reading all these comments and you are far more calmer about it than what I would have been.

  15. when you read casr part 101, registration/certification is all relative to the size of the UAV,small UAVs can be exempt from casr regs, its an unfortunate accident, how is it defamatory when the guy in question made a fuck up.

  16. I agree totally Dean that there are mixed stories on thus thread and people are saying to sue him and throw the book at him etc etc, people just need to back off and let the authorities deal with it before it ruins his business.

  17. Look!!! This is the original copy of the license, for any of you that would like a actual copy please don’t be afraid to contact me. (Address has been blocked out due to personal reasons) To everything Getaldton get your facts straight please. My father was doing a community favor, he has the correct licenses and experience so therefor shall not be shunned. Investigations have been held and channel hoping/hacking has not been ruled out so for all of you who think you know your stuff please just go and research a bit more because know one knows everything!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  18. Hi Gabby, that certificate is PART of the requirements, but only a small portion. It is only a Radiotelephone operators certificate, basically just indicating he can communicate on radio between other aircraft or aerodromes. He would also be required to have then successfully completed the theory component of a Private Pilot Licence (in either a Helicopter or Plane), as well as a UAV Controller Certificate and other applications which are listed on the CASA website (www.casa.gov.au/) under “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” it is quite indepth. I am NOT saying he hasn’t done this, I am just saying that certificate does not indicate that at all….

  19. Hi Gabby, that certificate is PART of the requirements, but only a small portion. It is only a Radiotelephone operators certificate, basically just indicating he can communicate on radio between other aircraft or aerodromes. He would also be required to have then successfully completed the theory component of a Private Pilot Licence (in either a Helicopter or Plane), as well as a UAV Controller Certificate and other applications which are listed on the CASA website (www.casa.gov.au/) under “Unmanned Aircraft Systems” it is quite indepth. I am NOT saying he hasn’t done this, I am just saying that certificate does not indicate that at all….

  20. Do amateur drone/multi rotor operators need a licence to fly? Anyone with the money can buy one and from experience they are 100% safer to operate than any RC helicopter or plane.

  21. Do amateur drone/multi rotor operators need a licence to fly? Anyone with the money can buy one and from experience they are 100% safer to operate than any RC helicopter or plane.

  22. Pingback: FAA fine against drone photographer dismissed. - Page 27

  23. Hi Gabby, thanks for this. We will continue discussions with CASA to clarify the validity of all the information supplied to us. Does the individual who was actually piloting the UAV at the time have one of these CASA authorisation documents?

  24. Gabby, the dates on the certificate are inconsistent. It says the issue date is 2013, though signed 2014. It isn’t listed on CASA’s registrations http://www.casa.gov.au/scripts/nc.dll?WCMS:STANDARD::pc=PC_100959 and, I at least, cannot find any registration of the business name New Era Film and Photography (thought maybe the ABN may help in digging up the licence).

    Either way, I hope the truth is found and the correction is worked out.

  25. @Sarah Sheppard The photo of the Certificate in question is the remote pilot license issued by CASA not the Company Operators Certificate. The 2013 issue date is in reference to when the first issue of that particular part of the pilot license was granted the new 2014 date is a revision date like a renewal was done on the license.

  26. @Gabby, what you have posted is a Controller Certificate, it authorises the person to fly an aircraft for a holder of a UAV Operator Certificate. The point that people are making is that we can not find either Warren or New Era listed as UAV Operator Certificate holder.

  27. Here is what a UAV Operator Certificate acutally looks like. So next time someone tells you they are a UOC holder ask to see their UOC.

  28. Accidents happen, I don’t see why this operator doesn’t just admit that there was either human error or equipment failure, apologize to the victim, rectify the problem, learn from the mistakes, and move on? Instead all this BS about a hacker, claiming to have an UOC but can’t show it, pretending a CC is an OC, claiming the victim didn’t get hit. This sort of stuff changes an innocent accident to a cover up, and we all know how much the media is going to love digging this up.

  29. The point is that accidents do happen, but not hacking on expensive equipment like this. These things can suffer from interference that will cause them to move off all by themselves, very very small chance of it happening, but it does happen, all over the world. Never happened to me before luckily. I really do hope there is no legal action in this accident. Although the pilot of the uav did breach the 30m rule, no one would have expected it to crash. These UAV’s are VERY safe! and rarely encounter incidents like this. I dont think Mr Abrams would intentionally fly without a licence, too big of a risk.

  30. Pingback: Camera Drone Supposedly Hits Triathlete in the Head During Race, Facts Still Unclear

  31. dry yours eyes, its two stitches regardless of what happened, “may all your problems be little ones” even if its jack S**t to do with most of the people on here blowing their own trumpets, about what little they know

    leave the guy alone, innocent until proven guilty – apparently

  32. We have the same problem here in florida.
    Hands off my toys.
    I am responsible for my actions and do not need meddlesome bureaucrats
    whose primary concern is growing their authority to certify that I have an IQ higher than my body temperature…

  33. Pingback: Camera Drone Supposedly Hits Triathlete in the Head During Race, Facts Still Unclear | News 12

  34. Pingback: Camera Drone Supposedly Hits Triathlete in the Head During Race, Facts Still Unclear « Secured Archives Secured Archives

  35. Pingback: Injured Triathlete in Australia – UAV Operator “Not Certified” | UAS VISION

  36. Glad I live in the USA. Seriously, you have a greater chance of being injured by a kid on a bike or skateboard. I’ve had runners nearly knock me over when they are running on narrow paths. Perhaps you should license running too. Oh, and in your country are you prohibited from taking pictures in public places? These devices are no more invasive than an iphone, news copter or the satellite Google uses to produce mapping software.

    I own one of these. Just flew it repeatedly on the beach at Waikii, often in high winds. The biggest danger was to me, as the throngs of onlookers and those wanting to as questions made me feel feel overcrowded.

    My bet is the runner stumbled and fell when she saw/heard the UAV in her proximity.

    Technology marches on. Get marching, or get left behind.

  37. Raija Ogden on

    See below a copy of the post on this site:

    Riaan on 07/04/2014 7:29 PM

    Me and my girls were watching the “drone” flying over the car in the middle of the entertainment area. It was flying normally ,sounded all good, then you could hear something went wrong and it just went straight down to ground. It hit the athlete in the head, hard!!! When she looked around to see what had hit her there was blood already running down her forehead, She then went to sit down on the ground.
    I was watching from behind her about 7m away
    It hit her not the ground behind her
    it was definitely not being “flown” by someone, it went straight to ground, maybe mechanical?

  38. Pingback: Crash de drone en Australie | HelicoMicro.com

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