Airways statement re: near miss with drone
Air traffic control organisation Airways New Zealand says it is concerned about an increasing number of drone sightings in controlled airspace.
“Over the past year we have received reports of more than one drone per week operating without authorisation in controlled airspace. Air traffic control technology is currently unable to detect small objects such as drones so we rely on drone operators to follow the rules and register with us before they fly to ensure all aircraft are integrated safely into our airspace.
“Drone detection technology is still in its infancy globally but Airways has been actively looking for solutions and we plan to begin trialling a new system within the next three months,” says Airways CEO Graeme Sumner.
Airways has operated the airshare.co.nz website for four years, allowing drone operators to request flight clearances from air traffic control and providing information on where they can fly safely. In that time the number of drone flights logged with the system has increased from 30 to 600 per week with more than 7,000 users now registered.
Drone operators in the Canterbury and Queenstown regions can also join Airways’ AirMap trial - a free iOS and Android app, which they can access to seek necessary airspace and public landowner approvals to fly, file flight plans, and access real-time information about other aircraft in the area.
Airways urges all drone users to register with airshare.co.nz and log their flights before they fly.