At Trade Me we don’t like to hover over your shoulder and drone on about rules and regulations, but you may want to have a look at the new regulations for operating drones if you’re considering making a purchase.
On 1 August 2015, new regulations came into force surrounding the operation of drones, also known as remotely-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS), Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS), and model aircraft. The rules also cover most other things you may want to launch into the air including rockets, balloons, kites, gyrogliders, parasails etc.
Before you purchase and operate a drone, please ensure you familiarise yourself with general aviation safety rules.
Once you’re sorted, you’ll also want to check out a couple of specific provisions regarding the operation of drones, located in Rule Part 101 and Rule Part 102 of the Civil Aviation Rules. To save you some time, we’ve grabbed the important bits for you below.
Rule Part 101
This part sets out key rules beyond the typical air safety requirements to follow when operating your drone:
- You must always operate your drone safely, and take practicable steps to minimise hazards against people or property. You should know the airspace restrictions where you plan to fly your drone.
- You must gain the consent of people you are flying over, as well as the consent of any property owners of the area. Though not explicitly in the CAA rules, you should keep an eye out for privacy expectations of people who may also be affected by your flight operation.
- You can only fly during the daytime unless the flight is indoors or a shielded operation.
- You need to be able to see your drone with your own eyes, in so you can avoid obstructions and bad weather conditions.
- Always give way to crewed aircraft.
- The maximum height you can fly is 120m above ground level.
- You must keep your drone at least 4km away from any aerodrome and obtain permission from the controlling authority over any controlled airspace, special use airspace, or airspace that may be temporarily classified as one of these areas for a particular operation or event.
- Your drone must be under 25kg, otherwise you’ll need permission as per Rule Part 102.
- If your drone is between 15–25 kg, there’s an additional requirement that it is constructed or inspected by a person or body approved by the Director of Civil Aviation.
- The drone must be approved and operated under approved authority.
There are exceptions to a few of these rules, which you can check out on the CAA links below.
Rule Part 102
This rule applies to you if you plan to operate outside the regulations of Rule Part 101. You can request special certification to operate your RPAS with approval from the CAA.
Creative Commons image used courtesy Ted Eytan on Flickr.