Matthew Backhouse

Matthew Backhouse is an APNZ news reporter based in Wellington.

Drones in the skies over Wellington

The drones are operated by a security screened three-person team. Photo / Getty
The drones are operated by a security screened three-person team. Photo / Getty

Pilotless drones are operating above the capital.

But have no fear; they are not being used for military purposes.

Wellington company Sycamore is using the drones to take photos and video for creative and commercial use.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has given Sycamore the all-clear to operate them following a year-long trial that included flying from Wellington Airport during its busiest-ever day; during last year's Rugby World Cup.

The drones are built by New Zealand company Droidworx, and use stabilised camera gimbals built by local company Photohigher.

Sycamore director Stephen Howard said the company had worked with the CAA, police, the Airline Pilots Association and the Airways Corporation to ensure it was operating to the same standards as manned flights.

The drones are operated by a security screened three-person team including a licensed pilot, a qualified commercial pilot as supervisor, and a camera operator.

Mr Howard said the drones provided "a whole new dimension" of high definition aerial photography and video.

"They can fill the gap where a manned helicopter can't go to beyond the reach of most people."

- APNZ

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