Can you please explain the restrictions (if any) that apply to the use of video camera drones in suburban areas? Keith Smith, Auckland
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says drone technology has outpaced its regulations and it needs to move with haste to get new rules in place to keep our air space both safe and under some sort of control.
Proposed changes to civil aviation rules, out for public consultation, will prohibit flying over parks or houses unless permission is obtained from all affected people. Flying within 4km of an aerodrome or heliport will also be prohibited.
To manage the risk of uncertified drones, the CAA will place a duty on the pilot to have a basic understanding of the rules governing where and how they can fly (or be directly supervised by someone who has this knowledge).
•The aircraft must not create a hazard to other aircraft, persons or property. The pilot must take all steps practicable to minimise the hazard to persons and property. The pilot must avoid flying over persons or property without first obtaining consent. In principle, this would mean asking everyone at the beach or park before flying your drone overhead.
•The aircraft must not fly within 4km of an aerodrome. There are 187 aerodromes in New Zealand, including commercial airports, private aerodromes and hospital heliports. Placing a 4km zone around these creates a significant no-fly zone. For example, Wellington airport plus the hospital and Queen's Wharf heliports makes most of Wellington a no-fly zone. An exception allows flight within the 4km zone if flying close to a structure that shields the drone from the aerodrome.
•The aircraft must remain in visual line of sight. The minimum requirement is to maintain visual line of sight of the whole area in which flight is intended, without the use of binoculars or other instruments. It is acceptable to use an observer to maintain direct eye contact if they are in direct communication with the pilot. It can only be used in daylight.
•The aircraft must not fly higher than 120m above ground level.
•It must weigh less than 15kg.
•The pilot must give way to all crewed aircraft.
Public consultation for revised CAA regulations closed on January 30. The final proposed rule will then be submitted to government.
(Source: www.consumer.org.nz www.caa.govt.nz)
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