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NZALPA response to serious incident with drone

NZALPA response to serious incident with drone in Christchurch

The New Zealand Air Line Pilots’ Association (NZALPA) is very worried by this recent and serious incident with a drone and a commercial jet departing from Christchurch, threatening the safety of passengers and crew.

NZALPA is relieved that no-one was injured and that no damage occurred.

The Association has previously registered its concerns regarding drones with the Civil Aviation Authority.

The Associations Air Traffic Control Director Jon Brooks says and the union remains concerned about the very loose regulation of RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems, or drones) in New Zealand.

“Coupled with an almost complete lack of pro-active education by the Civil Aviation Authority, it is alarming that an uninformed person can purchase a drone and operate it near an aerodrome, seemingly with little idea of the seriousness of their actions should the drone hit or come in close proximity to another aircraft,” he said.

“The management of drone activity is adding additional workload and complexity for our air traffic controllers and pilots, and incidents such as this put those controllers and pilots in stressful and potentially harmful situations.”

“Our members fear that we will continue to see an increasing number of these type of occurrences unless more restrictions are placed around the use of drones and that the Civil Aviation Authority starts to actively educate the New Zealand public on a large scale.” Mr Brooks said.

NZALPA would also like to see the compulsory installation of “see-and-avoid technology” on drones, the compulsory addition of identity markings on drones as well as a comprehensive education program for all drone operators (not just commercial ones).

The Association represents 2,500 Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers in New Zealand.

ENDS

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