Moonee Valley News
by Anna Joske
Be careful where you fly kites in Oz… you might get busted and receive an old school scolding from some mean police officers…
According to this article a man had tied a 1 meter wide kite to a fence. The local airport authority reported that there was an unidentified flying object about 400 feet off of the south end of the airport. Then for some reason, everyones common sense went out the window and they sent in the police and helicopters to find the perp! Come-on…
While I am all for kite safety, it wouldn’t have been to difficult to find the kite without all the American style theatrics..
Here is the article from the Moonee Valley Community News…
A POLICE helicopter and four officers swooped on a Keilor East house last week after the owner’s kite was deemed a risk to planes at Essendon Airport.
The Fawkner traffic management unit, whose members raided the Mues Street house on Monday afternoon, last week sought to distance itself from the incident.
An officer at the police air wing, which is based at the airport, spoke only on condition of anonymity.
”Air traffic control at Essendon could see a kite flying at about 300-400 feet at the south-western end of the airport and they asked if we could try to locate it.
”It was quite dangerous for departing and approaching aircraft. It was flying around like you wouldn’t believe.
”We located it and got a ground unit to come and pull it down because it was just too dangerous.”
The kite’s owner, Jon Grech, watched the chopper circle his house for 20 minutes from a nearby TAB outlet. ”I thought somebody robbed a bank.
”We were talking and – this is the gospel truth – I said, ‘That’s my kite. They’re not after my kite, are they?’
”And it was true.”
Mr Grech said his wife was home alone when the police entered and a policeman physically pulled down the kite from the fence.
”[He said], ‘Get it down, get it down, get it down!’ And then my wife was too slow, so he took over.
”They told my wife I was not to fly the kite again as long as I lived.
”My wife was there, trembling. [The policeman] said, `No more kites’.
”My wife, she was scared. She had a heart murmur. Her son died last year. She doesn’t need this.
”It’s a waste of taxpayers’ money. If they spent it on [tackling] somebody selling drugs or prostitution or whatever … but for flying a kite because it didn’t show up properly on a radar? Come on!
”We live in Australia, not in Zimbabwe.”
A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman said creating an obstruction with an unmanned aircraft – in this case, a kite – was an offence that carried a $2750 fine.
Further penalties could be incurred by flying an unmanned aircraft above 400 feet in controlled airspace within three nautical miles of an aerodrome.