Drone integration a flight closer
Airways and AirShare welcome today’s launch of the Government’s plan for developing a safe, innovative and thriving drone sector in New Zealand.
Taking Flight: an aviation system for the automated age outlines the benefits drones can deliver for New Zealand and the Government’s vision for safely integrating the technology into the existing transport system.
AirShare is the drone management subsidiary of Airways, New Zealand’s air traffic control provider.
“AirShare’s role is to provide some of the key infrastructure and tools that are needed by the drone sector to safely make the vision a reality,” AirShare CEO Trent Fulcher says.
An unmanned aerial vehicle traffic management system, known as UTM, is central to drones being able to fly safely alongside traditional aircraft. AirShare is building a UTM system for New Zealand and has already taken the first step, launching a mobile app that makes it easier for drone users to find out about rules and log flights. AirShare’s 14,000 registered app users can now see where they can fly, file a flight plan and gain approvals in real time.
Being able to fly a drone beyond the visual line of sight of the operator (BVLOS) will be a game changer for the drone industry, Mr Fulcher says. This ability is necessary to make drone package deliveries, including for humanitarian purposes, and other more complex operations like flying taxis possible.
AirShare recently led field trials of technologies that would enable BVLOS, alongside industry partners. The findings and recommendations from AirShare’s trials will be presented back to a cross-government working group.
Regulation for drone operations is a key part of the Government’s vision. Airways and AirShare support mandatory registration and electronic identification requirements. Electronic identification is the ability to identify a drone either through a tag it could carry, or via the mobile phone used to control the drone.
“Registration is a first step towards safe integration that could be achieved relatively quickly,” Mr Fulcher says. “This approach is currently the most effective way to identify and educate drone users, many of who may be new to aviation and unaware of their responsibilities.”
Mandatory registration is currently in place in the United States, with the requirements being implemented in Europe.
Notes to editors
AirShare was originally launched in 2014 and has amassed 14,000 registered users who have so far logged more than 100,000 flights.
On average there are two incursions by drones into controlled airspace every week. These are events where a drone is flying without authorisation in controlled airspace and is close enough to an aircraft or airfield to be spotted by pilots or air traffic controllers.