Transport Minister Simon Bridges and Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss say the first certified flight of an unmanned helicopter under new aviation rules is a great example of how they can enable commercial use.
Yamaha today received the first certification issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly a commercial Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
“The new rules open up a huge range of commercial possibilities that will help Kiwi businesses to thrive, whilst maintaining the highest safety standards,” Mr Bridges says.
“This impressive aircraft is designed specifically for crop spraying, and is particularly suited to operating above New Zealand’s diverse topography.
“Before August 1, the old rules did not allow the operation of this aircraft because of its weight (at nearly 100kg) and the intention to use chemicals.
“This innovative technology could help farmers achieve cost savings and also improve safety by enabling them to reduce the risk of wire strike, which is a significant aviation hazard,” he says.
The new civil aviation rule (Rule Part 102) for UAVs came into effect on 1 August 2015. Under the new rule, anyone who wants to fly a UAV beyond what is allowed for traditional model aircraft — such as at night, beyond line of sight or above 400 feet — needs to apply for certification from the CAA.
Associate Transport Minister Craig Foss, who signed off the new rules, says there are many opportunities to use UAVs for a variety of business purposes.
“I am excited to see the start of what I hope will be wide use of these aircraft.
“As well as agriculture, UAVs have enormous potential for many industries, including fire-fighting, film and video production, search and rescue, and scientific research. I hope to see more businesses embracing this innovative technology.
“UAVs can help organisations simplify their operations, save time and money, and offer new services,” he says.
An updated version of Rule Part 101 still applies to lower risk UAV operations, including recreational model aircraft. Users operating under this rule do not require certification.