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10,000 drone pilots register to fly in New Zealand airspace via Airshare

Posted: 14 September 2018 | | 1 comment

The online hub for drone pilots operated by Airways New Zealand announced that its database of registered pilots has topped the milestone mark.

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Drone pilots have enthusiastically adopted Airshare since its launch in December 2014 to access flight information and log flights directly with air traffic control, with 10,000 registrations to date. Registrations have soared over the last year, with close to 1000 in the last three months alone.

Airshare is a hub for drone users in New Zealand, which helps people to understand where they can fly, the Civil Aviation Rules and log flights with air traffic control. Recreational pilots account for 80 per cent of registrations and those flying for commercial purposes make up the remainder. Registered pilots are logging around 600 drone flights through the system every week across New Zealand.

Airshare’s registration provides a way to identify drones and their owners, and also to reach and educate drone pilots who may be new to aviation.

Airways New Zealand CEO, Graeme Sumner, said: “Hitting the 10,000 mark is excellent news as it reflects drone pilots’ growing awareness of their safety responsibilities. It’s extremely encouraging to see so many recreational pilots signing up as they are the group that we are finding it more difficult to reach.”

There is currently no legal requirement for drone pilots to be registered to fly and the Airshare system is voluntary.

Sumner continued: “We would like to see mandatory registration and training requirements for drone pilots implemented to make sure all airspace users are able to continue to fly safely.”

In May 2018, Airways New Zealand surveyed 1460 drone pilots for the inaugural Drone Tracker report. 60 per cent of respondents to the survey supported mandatory registration and 59 per cent said they support mandatory training.

Airways New Zealand is progressing with the development of a future drone traffic management system to safely integrate drones into New Zealand’s wider airspace network. Trials are underway to test technologies that will allow drones to be accurately tracked once they are beyond the pilot’s line of site, and provide detect and avoidance capabilities to keep them safely separated from other aircraft.

One response to “10,000 drone pilots register to fly in New Zealand airspace via Airshare”

  1. Wow, CAA NZ and the Ministry of Transport NZ have recently stated that they believe there are around 280,000 drone users in New Zealand. So we’re now being told that less than 4 percent of those users have registered. Hardly an “enthusiastic” adoption of the voluntary registration scheme is it — unless you’re a spin-doctor!

    Also, in respect to compulsory registration, there is zero evidence from anywhere in the world to show that this reduces offending or makes the airspace safer.

    Too many “desk pilots” making stuff up instead of doing proper scientific risk assessments and a comprehensive analysis of the data we already have.

    Airspace users deserve better than this.

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