How to Safely Fly Your Drone

If you are operating a drone, you are a pilot and therefore have a shared responsibility for the safety and security of everyone.

There are basic rules you must follow to ensure you are flying your aircraft safely:

Fly the aircraft so it isn't a hazard

Fly the aircraft so it isn't a hazard to other aircraft, property and people.

Fly it only in daylight

Fly it only in daylight.

Are able to see the aircraft with your own eyes

Can see the aircraft with your own eyes (eg, not through binoculars, a monitor,
or smartphone) or have a second person with you as an observer.

Fly your aircraft no higher than 120 m

Fly your aircraft no higher than 120 m (400 feet) above ground level.

Avoid flying over people that you do not have consent from

Avoid flying over people that you do not have consent from.

Have consent from the owner of the land you are flying over

Get consent from the owner of the land you are flying over.

Have knowledge of airspace

Know about airspace, especially restrictions applying in the area you want to fly.

Fly no closer than 4 km from any uncontrolled aerodrome

Fly no closer than 4 km from any uncontrolled aerodrome.

Fly your aircraft clear of controlled airspace

Fly your aircraft clear of controlled airspace. Controlled airspace normally extends
well beyond 4 km from a controlled aerodrome, and to the ground.

Give way to all manned aircraft

Give way to all manned aircraft.

Have permission from the administering authority

Get permission from the administering authority (such as the army) to fly in
special use airspace (such as a military operating area).

Are flying an aircraft that is no heavier than 25 kg.

Fly an aircraft that is no heavier than 25 kg.

This list does not cover all the rules, for more information see our main drone page, RPAS, UAV, UAS, Drones and Model Aircraft - this has direct links to the rules, Advisory Circulars, and forms.

Download our Flying with Control brochure (PDF 468 KB)

Why it is important to follow aviation rules?

Unsafe flying can place people and property in danger from potential loss of control. If they crash, there is a high risk of fire from the batteries.

Drones in close proximity to airports can significantly affect air travel, with flights suspended until the drone is no longer a danger to aircraft.

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Planning your flights

For help with planning your flights, visit www.airshare.co.nz.

For further assistance about aviation rules

For assistance with understanding the rules, please email rpas@caa.govt.nz.