A shielded operation (or shielded flight) is where your drone remains within 100 metres of, and below the top of, a natural or man-made object. For example, a building, tower, or trees.

When flying shielded you can fly at night. You can also fly within controlled airspace without Air Traffic Control clearance. This is because other aircraft are unlikely to be flying so low and close to structures.

Shielded operations within 4 km of airports

If you’re relying on a shielded operation within 4 km of an airport, then in addition to remaining within 100 metres of and below the height of the object providing the shield, there must also be a physical barrier. A barrier like a building or stand of trees between your drone and the airport. This barrier must be capable of stopping your drone if it loses control.

Before conducting a shielded operation, make sure you familiarise yourself with the rules in Part 101.

Learn about the other rules for flying an unmanned aircraft - Intro to Part 101 rules for unmanned aircraft


 Finding all this a bit confusing?

Please consider investing in your own knowledge and skills by undertaking a drone pilot course.

If you have any questions about drones, use our contact form, or email rpas@caa.govt.nz