Owner of Auckland’s mystery drone comes forward


Lincoln Tan

The owner of the mystery drone found among the weeds on a Titirangi property will be reunited with his machine.

The man, who did not want to be named, said he lost the drone after taking some aerial shots for a real estate company three months ago.

He was one of five people who had claimed ownership of the unmanned flying machine after the Herald ran a story on the drone find today.

He was identified as the rightful owner after he could correctly identify the images stored in its SD card.

A property owner found the drone on his Laingholm Drive property while he was working on the block of land just before Christmas.

He contacted the Herald to help him find the owner.

The hunt for the owner began after a man found the unmanned flying machine on his Titirangi property.

“In Titirangi we must be under surveillance by drone,” quipped the man, who wanted to be known just by his first name, Wim.

He said he found the drone while he was doing some work the week before Christmas on a block of land he owns on Laingholm Drive, just over the hill from the Titirangi township.

“We found it among some weeds, and we knew it was quite recent after we looked at the pictures on the microcard,” he said.

“There were images of the guy actually launching it from a deck of a house, but it’s not very clear where it actually came from.”

There were also aerial shots of another property and of the Waitakere ranges.

The drone appeared to be a DJI Phantom, a remote-controlled machine that has a flight coverage of about 300 metres with the help of radio frequency. Its built-in camera can capture high-powered shots from a great distance and it uses GPS technology to return to the last flown site if the autopilot is turned on.

Drones can be bought for a few hundred dollars and this machine is estimated to cost about $800.

New rules are being developed for flying drones, or “unmanned aircraft operations”, in New Zealand.

The Civil Aviation Authority is seeking feedback from the public as well as industry professionals, and said the proposed new rules would integrate unmanned aircraft into the aviation system.

Under the proposed rules, drone operators would be likely to require CAA certification.

Steve Moore, CAA general manager of general aviation, said in November that the advance performance characteristics of unmanned aircraft meant they could be used for a wide range of applications, including scientific research, film and video production and agriculture.

The proposed new rules will be open for public feedback until January 31, and are available on: caa.govt.nz/rpas.

– NZ Herald