Published date: 30 November 2022

Listen to our three interviews on drones in New Zealand: "If you fly a drone, you're a pilot""BVLOS operations and the GA pilot", and "The business of drones".

If you fly a drone, you’re a pilot

It’s almost Christmas and thousands of New Zealanders are going to wake up on December 25 to a drone under the tree. If that’s you, you need to understand you are now a pilot in New Zealand’s aviation system. True.

You’re not just flying a toy. Overseas, some large aircraft have been badly damaged by small drones colliding with them. So, to make sure everyone stays safe, you need to understand the civil aviation rules you have to comply with when you fly your drone.

Listen to “If you fly a drone, you’re a pilot” [MP3 10 MB]. It’s a Vector Online interview with two of the CAA’s most senior drones specialists.

BVLOS operations and the GA pilot

Drones operators can now fly their aircraft beyond their sight – under special conditions. This has implications for the general aviation community, particularly in their preflight planning. But there are now new tools to help GA pilots negotiate airspace with drones pilots. The trick is to make use of them.

Listen to “BVLOS operations and the GA pilot” [MP3 14 MB]. It’s a Vector Online interview with those same two specialists, as well as a CAA aviation safety advisor who’ll be asking them some questions on behalf of the general aviation community.

The business of drones

Despite sometimes bad press, most drones flying over your property are doing it for perfectly legal reasons – perhaps it belongs to a professional photographer working for a real estate agent and it’s taking a picture of the house for sale next door, or it’s the council doing some surveying.

If you’re worried about what drones in your neighbourhood might be there for, listen to the Vector Online interview “The business of drones” [MP3 9.5 MB]. You’ll learn more from our two experts about what to do if you do have privacy concerns, how to identify what the drone may be flying for, and what may help you do that better in the future.

Links to more information

Learn more about drone safety in New Zealand.

Learn more about the rules for drones pilots flying under a set of rules called ‘Part 101’.

Learn to fly your drone safely by doing a course.

To plan and log your flight, request controlled airspace clearance from ATC, or hire a commercial drone operator, have a look at the Airshare website(external link).

If you’re a traditional pilot, you can check out two new preflight planning tools to help you negotiate shared airspace with drones operators:

If you want to report a privacy breach, visit the Privacy Commissioner's website(external link).