The growing popularity of UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and a fourfold increase in incidents has prompted Airways New Zealand and the Civil Aviation Authority to remind those who find one under their Christmas tree to think safety first.
And to educate users, airshare.co.nz, the go-to resource for all drone users, has launched an online interactive training course on how to fly drones under the new CAA rules Part 101 and 102. The course is available for purchase via the airshare website and can be accessed via mobile device (IOS/Android) or desktop.
Airways New Zealand Chief Operating Officer, Pauline Lamb says, the course provides a good grounding on how to fly safely and responsibly and is must for all new drone users.
“Drone 101 Training can be accessed via a mobile device (IOS and Android) or desktop and covers helpful tips, CAA rules and six useful checklists to guide users through a drone flight from start to finish,” said Ms Lamb.
CAA reports fourfold increase in drone incidents
The number of incidents reported to the CAA reflects the growing popularity of UAVs in New Zealand. CAA figures show 107 incidents to date in 2015, which is a fourfold increase compared to 2014, when there were 27 incidents. In 2013 nine incidents were reported with three in 2012 and one in 2011.
TradeMe reported recently that UAVs are moving up its most searched items list. The US-based Federal Aviation Authority (FAA) has predicted there will be one million UAVs under U.S. Christmas trees this year.
Steve Moore, CAA General Manager of General Aviation, says safety should be top of mind for all.
“These aircraft can be a lot of fun but they also have the potential to endanger people and property as well as other airspace users.
“If you’re operating one for the first time it is very important that you follow civil aviation rules to ensure they are flown safely. These can be found online at airshare.co.nz or at caa.govt.nz,” he says.
Drone users warned about controlled airspace rules
Civil aviation rules require operators to get permission from air traffic control to fly in controlled airspace, which includes the airspace above and close to all New Zealand cities, and many towns.
Pauline Lamb says the easiest way to do this is to log your flight on airshare.co.nz before you fly.
“Since December last year we have received 6,473 flight requests on airshare.co.nz. Some 3,772 requests were to fly in controlled airspace.
“We suspect there are many more who may unwittingly be putting others at risk. We need all the lucky recipients of UAVs this Christmas to fly safely,” she says.
CAA and Airways promote safe flight over Christmas
Both agencies are providing retailers and councils with printed flyers and online materials outlining how to fly UAVs safely and within Civil Aviation rules. UAV users will be encouraged to gain approval from airshare.co.nz where they can also find useful information and tips. Social media promotion and an interactive online UAV training course will help educate users via airshare.co.nz.
Ms Lamb says, “We want to share the airspace safely and efficiently, and we’re working with the industry and CAA to develop the safest possible environment for UAV users to operate in.
“It’s important, at this time of year more than ever, that New Zealanders understand the rules around where they’re allowed to fly and how to fly their UAVs safely. With more UAVs in the hands of children, parents need to take responsibility to ensure they are being operated safely at all times.”
For more information please contact:
Head of Public Affairs
Airways New Zealand
Mobile: +64 21 815 149
Airshare is the central hub for UAV commercial and recreational users in New Zealand, helping people to quickly discover where they can fly and how to understand Civil Aviation Rules. The site provides dynamic maps that highlight aerodromes and controlled airspace, and operators can log their unmanned flights and interact with air traffic control to request access to controlled airspace. Since its launch in December 2014, more than 6,000 drone flights have been logged through airshare.co.nz, and more than 1,700 commercial and recreational users have registered on the site.
About Airways New Zealand
Airways New Zealand is a world-leading commercial Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP), and operates in New Zealand as a State-Owned Enterprise (SOE). We look after key aviation infrastructure around New Zealand and manage the more than 1 million traffic movements per year into and around New Zealand’s 30 million sq km of airspace.
Airways provides air traffic control and engineering training, and has delivered air traffic management, Flightyield revenue management solutions, navigation services and consultancy in more than 65 countries.
For more information about Airways please visit www.airways.co.nz