28 Apr 2016

Man on trial over drone flight

12:47 pm on 28 April 2016

A man on trial after using a drone to film a fire told a court it did not fly close to the helicopter fighting the blaze and he had not breached any laws.

Drone flying

Photo: 123RF

Simon Reeve, 38, used the drone to film the fire at Pines Beach near Christchurch in January last year.

The Civil Aviation Authority laid three charges, one of causing unnecessary endangerment and two charges of flying the drone in a controlled airspace without permission.

In the Christchurch District Court today, under examination by the prosecution, Mr Reeve said he read the disclaimer document which came with the drone and he had a good understanding of aviation laws.

Mr Reeve told the court that although the drone flew around the smoke up to 1700 feet away, he never lost sight of it and it was never near the helicopter.

The case is due to be summed up this afternoon.

Police are asking the public to avoid the cordoned area around the plantation while the scene is investigated.

Firefighters near the scene of the Pines Beach blaze on 6 January 2015. Photo: RNZ / Patrick Phelps