A TV reporter and cameraman gave evidence this morning on day two of a potentially landmark trial on the use of drones.

Simon Reeve is on trial in the Christchurch District Court and is the first person to be charged under the new Civil Aviation Authority rules.

He denies two charges of operating a remotely operated aircraft in a controlled airspace last year at Pines Beach, near Kaiapoi, during a forest fire, while helicopters were also flying in the area.

He also denies another charge of causing unnecessary endangerment to people.


TVNZ's Joy Reid told the court she had spoken to Reeve while out reporting on the fire and had asked to use his footage, which he agreed to for a fee of $200.

She says at no point did they speak about Reeve having authorisation to fly the drone in the area.

A helicopter pilot who attended the fire north of Christchurch also gave evidence.

Helicopter pilot David Askin said he was out fighting a fire in Pines Beach last year with a monsoon bucket and didn't know until he saw drone footage on the news that an RPAS [R-PAZ] was also being flown in the area.

He said the realisation angered him because you can't see a drone until it hits the helicopter and by then it's too late.

The trial is expected to continue until tomorrow.