Rules for drones


Drone users in the Waimate district have a new set of guidelines to comply with, after the Waimate District Council adopted an unmanned aircraft policy on Tuesday.
The policy defines where and under what conditions the public are allowed to fly unmanned aircraft, including drones and remotely piloted aircraft, over land controlled by the council.
The policy ties in with Civil Aviation Authority regulations on unmanned aircraft that were introduced in August 2015.
Unmanned aircraft users are permitted by the CAA to fly over a property without a permit. However, the user must have the property owner’s consent.
According to the council’s policy, the council will grant consent for the flying of unmanned aircraft above land controlled by the council if several conditions are met.
Those conditions prohibit flying unmanned aircraft over people or neighbouring private property without their consent. Filming people with an on-board camera without their permission, and operating an aircraft within 50m of any playground, paddling pool or swimming pool is also prohibited.
Users must not fly them over council cemeteries, occupied camp sites, sports fields that are being used, or within 100m of any event that has forced the closure of a road, or any closer than 10m of the boundary of land controlled by the council, or private property without the permission of the owner.
Under CAA rule part 101, which is part of the council policy, unmanned aircraft must not weigh more than 25kg, and can be flown only in daylight.
Users must be able to see their unmanned aircraft at all times with their own eyes and give way to all crewed aircraft. The unmanned aircraft must stay below 120m and at least 4km away from any aerodrome.
Unmanned aircraft are not allowed in low-fly zones, including the area between the Waitaki River and the Glenavy-Tawai and Tawai-Ikawai roads.
While there are no conditions in the policy that prohibit unmanned aircraft being flown near powerlines, utility companies have advised users to be careful.
In September, Transpower warned users to be aware of the danger of flying an unmanned aircraft near powerlines after one became entangled in national grid powerlines, 5km west of Waimate. It took crews three hours to remove the drone.
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