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New Zealand to introduce civil UAV regulations

New Zealand’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is planning to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking on 4 December to establish regulations covering the use of unmanned air vehicles.

In a statement, the CAA says that the current regulations on UAVs were designed for model aircraft, however as many vehicles have advanced performance characteristics, this opens up additional risks.

To date, this year there have been 15 incidents involving UAVs in New Zealand reported to the CAA, up from 12 the year prior.

While it did not provide many details on the proposed regulations, the CAA adds that operators of high-risk UAVs will likely require certification.

The regulations have been drafted in cooperation with industry group UAVNZ and government technology body Callaghan Innovation, and will be open for public comment until 30 January 2015.

“We want to make sure the new rules do not impose an undue regulatory burden on operators and will seek feedback on this and other aspects during the consultation period,” says the CAA’s general manager general aviation Steve Moore.

“We want to make sure that recreational users can still operate in a low-risk environment, and will modify the existing rules so they can continue to do this where appropriate.”

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