Wed, Sep 09, 2015 - Page 5 News List

Art museum off-limits to drones

ILLEGAL SNAPS:Tainan Airport said that the ever-growing height at which aerial photographs of the Chimei Museum are being taken makes the practice dangerous

By Wu Chun-feng and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

Visitors walk outside the Chimei Museum in Tainan on June 26.

Photo: Wu Jun-fung, Taipei Times

Aerial photography enthusiasts have discovered that Tainan’s new tourist hotspot, the Chimei Museum, is located within the restricted airspace of Tainan Airport and is therefore off-limits to drones.

With the nation reinforcing regulations regarding the use of drones after incidents at Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport) and at Taipei 101 in June and July respectively, aerial photographs of the Chimei Museum are being reviewed.

Ground staff at Taipei International Airport reportedly found wreckage of a drone used for aerial photography near a runway on June 21. The following month, a drone crashed into Taipei 101.

According to the Civil Aeronautics Association (CAA), areas within 5km of either end of the runway as well as 2.6km of either side of the runway are considered restricted airspace and flying any object within this area, including sky lanterns, fireworks, kites and radio-controlled planes, is prohibited at all times.

Violations can be punished with a fine ranging from NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million (US$9,090 to US$45,450), the CAA said.

The CAA said that the Chimei Museum, 2.3km from the Tainan Airport, is also within prohibited airspace, adding that aerial photography around the museum is illegal.

Tainan Airport manager Lin Hsin-min (林新民) said while aerial photography of the museum shows the beauty of the building, considered on a par with other international art museums, the ever-growing height at which photographs are being taken makes the practice dangerous.

“We will be asking the museum to make it known that flying any object in the area is prohibited,” Lin said, adding that the airport and police would conduct periodic sweeps of the area.

“We are seeking to uphold aviation security, as well as preventing possible injuries to people at the museum,” Lin said, adding that somebody could be injured by a falling drone.

Tainan Airport said that authorization to conduct aerial photography in prohibited air space can be requested from the city government, but that such authorization is usually restricted to cases relating to national security and academic research purposes.

Chimei Museum asked the public to take note of the prohibited airspace above the museum and not to carry out any activity in the area which could have possible legal ramifications.

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