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New Zealand’s drone safety solution

5 February 2015

New Zealand is seeing rapid growth in the use of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or ‘drone’, technology. And when it comes to safety in the skies, Airways New Zealand is ahead of the game.

Airways’ Head of Policy, Standards and Safety Improvement Mike Haines says that as an air navigation services provider, Airways has supported the RPAS industry through its rapid development in recent years.

“In June last year we launched as an online portal for all RPAS users,” explains Mr Haines. “We believe that through facilitating the safe operations of these craft, we can help RPAS operators learn about their responsibilities and support industry growth as it embraces this technology.”

Airshare is a user-friendly website which helps people to quickly discover where they can fly and what they need to know, including the Civil Aviation Rules. Operators can create a user account to log all their RPAS flights and interface with air traffic control to request access to controlled zones.

“Ultimately, we want to remind people that they’re responsible for operating their RPAS safely. They need to be informed and educated, and that’s where Airways is taking a leadership role,” says Mr Haines.
Since its launch airshare has been widely supported, with registrations and flight requests growing rapidly. “It’s working and awareness is growing. We believe that airshare is the platform to share our skies safely as the industry enters new territories – from airspace in major cities, to remote areas and even into the backyard aerodromes of the smallest recreational pilot.” was developed in collaboration with Crown entity Callaghan Innovation, UAV NZ (RPAS industry association) and the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority.  Open dialogue and a cooperative approach have been key to the safe development of the RPAS market in New Zealand, with Airways working professionally alongside aviation industry partners and commercial operators.

Airways is also proactively assisting the Civil Aviation Authority in developing new Civil Aviation Rules and guidelines for RPAS operations in New Zealand.

About 230 representatives from across the industry attended the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Open Skies symposium on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in New Zealand last month.  The symposium discussed key issues facing the sector, including potential rule changes to improve regulation and increase safety.  

“This commitment across our industry has been critical in New Zealand’s early adoption of smart guidelines surrounding RPAS technology,” says Mr Haines.

Operations and Safety
Asia Pacific


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