New regulations proposed for drone owners

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Drone in flight. Image / Supplied

The Civil Aviation Authority is working with the Ministry of Transport to update regulations on the use of drones.

Drones are a type of remote-controlled aircraft that have become increasingly popular for commercial and recreational use.

The Civil Aviation Authority’s head of general aviation, Steve Moore, says the current laws date back to the 1990s – before drones were widely available.

Mr Moore told Radio New Zealand: “These aircraft are so readily available now – you can buy them online or in model shops – and so a lot of people that buy them don’t have an aviation background and they don’t realise there are rules that they have to operate these aircraft.”

Flight risk crashed drone. Image / Supplied
Flight risk crashed drone. Image / Supplied

Under the proposed changes, anyone who wants to operate a drone will have to provide the authority with details of their intended use before they can obtain an operating certificate.

Mr Moore said “the certificate would give them a number of conditions by which they had to operate”.

However, some drone users are concerned that tighter laws will restrict the growth of new hi-tech industries.

Keen drone flyer Max Whitehead says: “If drone technology was embraced like cell phone technology, civilisation will take another step forward.”

The Civil Aviation website notes that “there’s also a lot of interest in their commercial use, such as in real estate aerial photography and power lines inspection,” adding, “but they are aircraft, and present a number of safety risks”.

The new laws are likely to be implemented by the middle of the year.

Listen to the audio version below: