New world-class framework for UAVs

  • Craig Foss
  • Simon Bridges

New rules on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) will enable innovation and put New Zealand at the forefront of regulating a rapidly evolving industry, Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss say.

The rules, which come into effect on 1 August, recognise the changing environment and create a world-class framework that accommodates ongoing development while still ensuring the safety of the public, property and other airspace users.

“UAVs are increasingly popular in a wide variety of operations, including scientific research, agriculture, fire-fighting, film and video production, as well as search and rescue,” Mr Bridges says.

“One key way the Government can help promote the uptake of new technologies is to ensure there are no unnecessary regulatory barriers. We are committed to regulation flexible enough to accommodate the growth of new technologies — and that’s evident in the rules we’re announcing today.”

UAVs are currently regulated under a rule designed for model aircraft (Civil Aviation Rule Part 101).

The new rule (Civil Aviation Rule Part 102) requires anyone who wants to operate a UAV at night, beyond line of sight or above 400 feet to get certification from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“These changes bring a clear, responsive process that ensures no unnecessary red tape. They provide certainty for users that hasn’t previously been there”.

Mr Foss says it is exciting to see so many businesses in New Zealand using this innovative technology.

“I hope to see more businesses embracing unmanned aircraft and the opportunities they present, including the ability to simplify operations, save time and money, and offer new services — the sky’s the limit,” Mr Foss says.

“An updated version of Rule Part 101 will still apply to lower risk UAV operations, including recreational model aircraft. Users operating under this rule will not require certification.

“The CAA consulted widely on the new rules and incorporated feedback from various stakeholders. I’m confident these rules will satisfy the needs of all parties.”

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