23 Dec 2018

No new rules needed for drones, enthusiasts say

5:03 pm on 23 December 2018

Drone hobbyists are playing down calls for further flying regulations, saying the existing rules are tough enough.

Drone take off from land and flying front of home for take aerial photo.

Photo: 123rf

Gatwick airport near London closed for 36-hours over the weekend, because of drones flown over its runway.

A man and a woman are now being questioned by the police.

Pilots and air traffic controllers here have called for the laws to be updated with mandatory drone registration, certification and tracking.

However, the rules will have no effect on people willing to break them, said Jonathan Shorer, the secretary of Model Flying NZ.

"Having tougher rules won't make any difference if they can't be enforced and what authorities are finding is that it's quite tricky to catch a drone.

"And it's even harder to catch somebody flying it remotely from a long way away."

The key was making sure people were well educated around the existing rules.

The warning was timely, Mr Shorer said, because drones are a popular Christmas present, and it was important new users learn to fly them safely.

More than 100,000 Christmas travellers were affected by the Gatwick Airport closures.

In New Zeland the Civil Aviation Authority investigates complaints about drones, and offers information on their website about flying them safely.

They encourage email reports of drone complaints, and say people should call the police if a drone poses an immediate threat to safety.

A 2017 report by the Authority estimated there were about 281,428 New Zealand-based drone users, and one out of every six overseas visitors will fly a drone while here.

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