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Air NZ A320 in close encounter with UAV

New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority is investigating a near miss between an Air New Zealand A320 aircraft and an unmanned aerial vehicle.

The incident occurred around 17:45 on 25 September, as the A320 was climbing out of Christchurch while operating a flight to Auckland.

The Authority says that as the aircraft passed through 6,000ft around the Kaiapoi area in controlled airspace, a “sizable” remotely piloted aircraft system passed close to it.

“We are very concerned that an RPAS pilot appears to have allowed their aircraft to fly in such close proximity to a passenger aircraft,” says CAA director Graeme Harris. “The RPAS should not have been anywhere near the Jet. It simply shouldn’t have been in that airspace.”

New Zealand implemented civil aviation rules relating to the use of UAVs in 2014, specifying limitations on where they can be operated and under what conditions. The country is also helping to shape international standards for UAVs through ICAO.

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