(Source: Civil Aviation Authority of New Zealand)
Commonly known as UAVs, drones or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), most unmanned aircraft operations are currently regulated by rules designed for model aircraft.
Steve Moore, CAA General Manager – General Aviation, says most unmanned aircraft can fly much faster, further, and higher than traditional model aircraft.
The advanced performance characteristics of unmanned aircraft mean they can be used for a much wider range of applications including scientific research, film and video production and agriculture.
“This can mean greater safety risks for airspace users, and for people and property. It’s important we update the rules in recognition of those risks.
“Ultimately, users will need to abide by the new rules, so it is important they get the chance to have input into their development,” he says.
Recent advances in technology have led to significant growth in the number of unmanned aircraft operations, particularly RPAS, world-wide.
The proposed rules are part of the CAA’s strategy to integrate unmanned aircraft into the aviation system.
“It is important that we put in place a comprehensive regulatory framework that is flexible enough to accommodate further growth over the long-term.”
The proposed rules focus on the safety risks associated with high performance unmanned aircraft, with operators of high risk unmanned aircraft likely to require CAA certification. Initial consultation in developing the rules has involved users, including industry group UAVNZ, and Callaghan Innovation.
“We are aware that these operations are opening up significant business opportunities in areas like real estate, film and television, and scientific research.
“We want to make sure the new rules do not impose an undue regulatory burden on operators and will seek feedback on this and other aspects during the consultation period,” says Steve Moore.
“We want to make sure that recreational users can still operate in a low-risk environment, and will modify the existing rules so they can continue to do this where appropriate,” he says.
Unmanned aircraft can be purchased from retail outlets and also online for a few hundred dollars. In some cases users may not be aware they are subject to the Civil Aviation Rules, he says.
“The CAA encourages anyone who wants to operate an unmanned aircraft to find out what their safety obligations are before they fly.”
The CAA’s Notice of Proposed Rule Making will be issued on 4 December 2014. Members of the public and industry can give feedback until 30 January 2015 through the CAA web site: www.caa.govt.nz/rpas.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com