Drone regulations

The New Zealand branch of the Air line Pilots’ Association has called for an urgent review of the present regulations relating to the way drones are owned and operated following a growing number of occasions when the safety of aircraft could have been compromised by drones.

Currently there is no requirement for drones to be registered or for their operations to be controlled. The original cumbersome CAA regulations relating to the ownership of drones were not really suitable for their increasing use.

Several years ago the CAA drew up a new set of rules in an attempt to establish the safe use of drones in New Zealand skies. There have been widespread concerns regarding violations of privacy and the dangers that flying objects pose to people and property should a drone operator lose control. The changes were implemented to improve aviation safety for operators, airspace users and the general public together with their property.

Under the new CAA rules, drones are classified as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), and users must have a safety plan in place and consent from the owners of any property they are flying over. However, those who cannot get consent can still fly a drone if they have an operating certificate from the CAA. Operators also need to have certification from the CAA if a drone is used at night, beyond the line of sight, or above 120m.

All drone operations must now be carried out in accordance with Part 101 and/or Part 102 of the Rules. The new rules prescribe more explicit constraints upon the use of drones than was previously the case.

The Rules are separated into two parts. Part 101 is the starting point and applies to operating a drone of 25kg or under that fully complies with all the rules set out in Part 101. The operating of any drone of more than 25kg, or which doesn’t comply with any of the other rules set out in Part 101, is governed by Part 102. The main distinction between the two parts is that under Part 102 the operator is required to be certified by the CAA in order to operate the drone.

There are 12 key requirements that drone operators should be aware of (a list of these can be found on They include rules relating to where, how, when and above what property drones can be operated. All drone operations must comply with these rules unless an exemption is given by the CCA (by an application for an operator’s Part 102 certificate)...


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In the proposed venture drones could be delivering medicine to remote, rural Northland communities by March next year.
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