Can I fly a drone in controlled airspace and what equipment do I need to have on-board?

You cannot fly your drone in controlled airspace without talking to and asking permission from https://airshare.co.nz. Just this morning I was flying in a helicopter and heard another aircraft report a drone flying at 300 to 400 feet in controlled airspace. This caused significant disruption as the drone was flying in an approach path and so an Air New Zealand passenger aircraft had to be diverted. The police were called to the location where the drone was operating and until the drone was out of the air (with police intervention), the Air New Zealand plane could not land at Tauranga Airport.

So no you cannot fly in controlled airspace without pre-approved permission and NEVER in the approach path of arriving or departing aircraft – as was this drone today.

You can be prosecuted and your drone confiscated.

If you have been certified under a 102 certificate you can ask and be given permission in many cases to fly in otherwise banned areas for periods of time. Other aircraft will be notified by NOTAM (see airshare website) to divert around the area your drone is going to fly for that time period.

In future CAA are hoping to bring in laws where unmanned aircraft must carry a transponder in controlled areas so the control tower and other aircraft can see them, but this is often prohibitive for smaller drones that cannot carry much weight.

It is more important that you know what you can and can’t do, what permissions you need, and who to talk to if you are going to fly a drone around other people and in controlled airspace. Our 101/102 courses teach you this.

Last Update: December 11, 2019  

February 19, 2019   326   admin    Airspace, Drone Law  
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