WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 14, 2016
UAV flights on the rise - 25,000 recorded in two years
The number of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) flights in New Zealand is rapidly increasing according to the latest figures from airshare.co.nz. So, those lucky enough to be gifted a UAV this Christmas are reminded to make sure they know their responsibilities before taking to the skies.
Anyone wanting to fly a UAV in New Zealand must follow strict Civil Aviation regulations and in some cases may need approval from air traffic control. Airshare is an online hub giving users access to the flight information, tools and training they need to operate safely. Run by New Zealand’s air navigation services provider Airways, Airshare is also the only platform allowing users to log flights directly with air traffic control.
More than 3,500 UAV operators have registered with the site since its launch in June 2014 and 25,000 flights have been logged in the past two years– 10,000 of these have been in the last six months alone.
“Safety is the key priority for Airways so we’re delighted at how enthusiastically UAV users, both recreational and commercial, have adopted Airshare to log flights and get airspace information,” Airways Chief Operating Officer Pauline Lamb says.
“However, we suspect there are many more who may unwittingly be putting others at risk. If UAVs are not used responsibly they can pose serious risks to commercial and recreational aviation operations. We ask that users take the time to have a look at Airshare, even if they’re simply taking their model helicopter for a spin locally.”
Flight data recorded through Airshare also gives an insight into where New Zealanders are using their UAVs.
Around half of logged UAV flights happen in controlled airspace – the areas of airspace managed by air traffic controllers. Auckland’s Whenuapai control zone records the most flights with around 50 per week. The zone includes most of Auckland’s North Shore and extends out to the Waitakere Ranges.
Christchurch is in second place, followed by Tauranga and the Auckland control zone, which includes the central and southern parts of the city.
For those who do get a UAV under the Christmas tree this year, Airshare’s Drone 101 course is a great starting point to get your bearings.
Drone 101 Training can be accessed via a mobile device (IOS and Android) or desktop and covers helpful tips, Civil Aviation rules and six useful checklists to guide users through a drone flight from start to finish.