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Government

Don't Bring Your Drone To New Zealand 272

NewtonsLaw writes: Personal drones are changing the way some people experience vacations. Instead of toting along a camcorder or a 35mm DSLR, people are starting pack a GoPro and, increasingly, a drone on which to mount it. This is fine if you're going to a drone-friendly country, but be warned that your drone will get you into big trouble in Thailand (where all use of drones by the public is banned outright) and now in New Zealand, where strict new laws regarding the operation of drones (and even tiny toys like the 20g Cheerson CX10) come into effect on August 1.

Under these new rules, nobody can operate a drone or model aircraft without getting the prior consent of the owner over which property it is intended to fly — and (this is the kicker) also the permission of the occupiers of that property. So you can effectively forget about flying down at the local park, at scenic locations or just about any public place. Even if you could manage to get the prior permission of the land-owner, because we're talking "public place," you'd also have to get the permission of anyone and everyone who was also in the area where you intended to fly.

Other countries have produced far more sane regulations — such as limiting drone and RC model operators to flying no closer than 30m from people or buildings — but New Zealand's CAA have gone right over the top and imposed what amounts to a virtual death-sentence on a hobby that has provided endless, safe fun for people of all ages for more than 50 years. Of course if you are prepared to pay a $600 fee to become "Certified" by CAA then the restrictions on where you can fly are lifted and you don't need those permissions.
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Don't Bring Your Drone To New Zealand

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  • I swear I didn't bring it. It flew there itself.

    • Classic....

      Yea sure, so it followed you home and ate your homework too....

      • Classic....

        Yea sure, so it followed you home and ate your homework too....

        Most of the drones in use today aren't 'drones' they are RC toys. Now a real drone, programmable and autonomous... that could follow you around...

      • They're working on "follow" drones. Set it to lead, follow, or orbit and it'll track you. Or, more accurately, it'll track the device you're carrying.

  • More Sanity (Score:5, Informative)

    by SuperKendall ( 25149 ) on Friday July 24, 2015 @12:49PM (#50175877)

    How is it not sane to think that the people who could be potentially hit by your craft would have something to say about it flying over them?

    I find this a perfectly reasonable law. Don't forget it means that could could fly on private property NEXT to the public property and film from there, as long as you are not directly over the public area...

    • Re:More Sanity (Score:5, Interesting)

      by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Friday July 24, 2015 @01:03PM (#50176001)

      Exactly this.

      This seems like a very reasonable law to me. I would only add one more provision though.

      I think that they could designate some common public areas in which you could fly and anybody who entered the are giving implicit permission to have drones flying around them. That way, if you don't want a drone dive bombing you and taking HD video, you just stay away from the areas where it's allowed. There would have to be a "fair warning" signage requirement, but leave it up to the local authorities who are enforcing the "no drone" rule to decide where to allow drones.

      • I think it would be good to also have it possible to operate a drone without the restrictions if you were under the supervision of someone who was certified. So someone could take their friends or family out and they could fly the drone while that person was there to give direction. Or a certified person could rent out a drone and be present.

        • That sounds good. I'm for first making a blanket ban, then thinking of exceptions. That's two worthwhile exceptions so far: (1) Make designated fly spaces, and (2) Allow flight when accompanied by someone who's trained and who can lose their certification if they break certain rules regarding safety and privacy.

          • by Morgon ( 27979 )

            You keep parroting this (which I replied to elsewhere), but 'designated fly spaces' is not what this technology is for. (And before you respond, it's not "for" "violating privacy" either). It's like saying the only place you should have a gun is on a range. I'm no gun nut, but I still think that sentiment is a little absurd.

            Anyway, one thing that's important to understand is that these are HUGELY different from RC Aircraft. They do not require the same vertical space. They can stop, turn, and hover on a dim

    • How is it not sane to think that the people who could be potentially hit by your craft would have something to say about it flying over them?

      Presumably, you also think that kites should be treated the same way?

      And baseballs, footballs, soccer balls?

      • by EvilSS ( 557649 )
        What about airplanes and even satellites?
    • by dougmc ( 70836 )

      Let's flip this argument around a little bit --

      How is it not sane to think that the people who could be potentially hit by your frisbee/kite/football/running toddler would have something to say about it being done near them?

      I find this a perfectly reasonable law. Don't forget it means that could could play on private property NEXT to the public property, as long as you are not directly over the public area...

      Far, far more people have been injured by balls than R/C models -- a kicked soccer ball has more energy than a small R/C aircraft -- and yet we aren't banning people from playing soccer in fields.

      We could even apply this argument to cars -- they kill more via collisions than anything else. But of course almost everybody drives, so we can't limit them more -- but only a few people fly R/C aircraft, so we *can* discriminate against them.

      And the "film from there"

      • > far more people have been injured by balls than R/C models

        First, that's because historically the number of RCs was microscopic.

        Second, exercise is something we need to promote as much as possible. Voyeurism and general being-a-jerk needs less help.

  • by avandesande ( 143899 ) on Friday July 24, 2015 @12:56PM (#50175941) Journal

    Going to a foreign country to visit and having a drone flying over your head... Really? Always finding new ways to display an astonishing lack of class.

    • Going to a foreign country to visit and having a drone flying over your head... Really? Always finding new ways to display an astonishing lack of class.

      As an American, I am in agreement. And note that as is always the case, the ones who bitch the most about this and completely lose their minds over it will never, ever, visit New Zealand or any place with such laws. I had a friend some years ago (we're not friends any more because he's basically nuts and I had enough) who last flew in an airplane around in 1998 or maybe 1999. Definitely well before Sept. 11, 2001. You couldn't say anything at all to him about traveling anywhere by air without him going

  • So get certified (Score:3, Insightful)

    by captaindomon ( 870655 ) on Friday July 24, 2015 @01:16PM (#50176113)
    I think this is a good move. Make people take some basic safety classes and tests and pay a fee to become certified. Pull their certification if they are jerks or are operating unsafely. People that are serious about the hobby are usually the people that are polite, careful, etc, and they are the people willing to put in the effort to get licensed. People that are serious about flying drones are usually the people most annoyed by the crazies that are doing things recklessly and ruining the hobby for everyone else.
  • by bobbied ( 2522392 ) on Friday July 24, 2015 @01:16PM (#50176119)

    It just means that you will need to fly them on private land.

    I have an RC aircraft habit myself and that's what I do, fly on private land. I suppose I could use the street in front of my house, but it's kind of dangerous and noisy so I don't think my neighbors would appreciate it so I joined a club. The club I'm in has agreement with a private land owner and we fly on their property. The hobby will not die, it will just be relegated to private property.

    I understand why people are upset, but let's face it, the crazies among us who insist on flying their drones in places they shouldn't have, taking pictures of things they shouldn't have and being irresponsible in general have made this necessary. Don't blame the government, blame the crazies that make this necessary for privacy and safety.

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      "The people driving horseless carriages recklessly at TEN MILES AN HOUR are the ones who have made the Red Flag Act necessary. Don't blame the government, blame the crazies who have made this law necessary!"

      The real crazies are the ones who think they can make the Drone Red Flag Acts stick. Drones are only going to get smaller, more capable and more ubiquitous. If you think you can stop the tsunami of technological progress, you're like the buggy whip makers who thought that forcing car owners to have a man

      • Nice try, but I'm not buying it.

        The Red Flag act was indeed necessary for a time due to the unfamiliar technology which could easily kill was being used in public under less than ideal conditions or traffic rules. It was a public safety issue until the public became generally aware of automobiles, roads improved to handle automobiles, and traffic laws where in place to govern their operations.

        So, I do not think the Red Flag laws where crazy when put into historical context, any more than the laws requir

        • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

          Are you seriously claiming, that, a few years from now, the New Zealand police will be arresting every Japanese tourist walking around town with a ten gram drone following them around and posting pictures to Facebook?

          Do you think the police there have nothing better to do? Or that the people making money from tourism would support such a measure?

          • You did read my post right?

            I fully recognize that the issue with this regulation is going to be enforcement and I said so.

            Likewise, the laws being discussed here may indeed look silly in 50 years, but they are reasonable and sensible NOW. The only real question is about enforcement, which may be difficult (as you point out.)

            So for now, the law is fine. Could it become an issue for enforcement in the future? You betcha. Will it? Seems likely to me, but there's no way to be sure.

            But just because a law is possibly going to be hard to enforce in the future is not enough to make it a bad one now. .One could have argued that with the foreseeable advent of fire hydrants and pumper fire engines, which both

  • The mainstream public is a bit ridiculous when it comes to drones - they think they're so important that another person would waste their time and spy on them using a drone. First off, you're not that important, get over yourself. Second, do you have any idea what kind of footage a drone would have at 100 ft away? Keep in mind that while it's high-def, there's no zoom. A drone would need to be 10 ft away to get a clear image of your face.

    If you ask these same people how they feel about low flying aircra

    • First, let's be clear: I don't like the new law. I think it goes too far by requiring the consent of all present rather than just the landowner, which would be entirely reasonable. But you need to work on your argument.

      Second, do you have any idea what kind of footage a drone would have at 100 ft away? Keep in mind that while it's high-def, there's no zoom. A drone would need to be 10 ft away to get a clear image of your face.

      Technology moves. You say that today, but tomorrow, there probably will be zoom. The technical problems are well understood. This isn't a useful argument to make, because it isn't likely to remain true over any useful length of time (if it even is true; I didn't bother seeing if someone has a

  • by RevWaldo ( 1186281 ) on Friday July 24, 2015 @01:31PM (#50176261)
    Sounds like a possible money maker for certified pilots, to hire themselves out to tourists by the hour to provide drone tours, either over preset courses or something more freeform. 3D googles included, and you get to keep the footage!

    .
    • Not a bad business plan. Offer Drone Tours of New Zealand - precepted tours in places selected for appropriateness and beauty. Either BYO Drone or rent one. Maybe even learn some things.

      The analogy would be photographic tours where you go with a guide that knows the area, knows what to view and when, has access to places you would not normally be allowed to go. A bit of a niche, but an idea...

  • by tompaulco ( 629533 ) on Friday July 24, 2015 @02:51PM (#50176867) Homepage Journal
    Oops, they left out the part where there are designated flying areas for drones and other model aircraft, thereby making this mostly a story that you can't do whatever the hell you want on somebody else's property.
  • I recently saw a sign at Smith Rock State Park, a world-class rock climbing area in Oregon, that said "Use of remote controlled aerial vehicles is prohibited". Well... GPS drones can be programmed to do a flight path and return with no "remote" control whatsoever. Therefore, it seems, drones with a programmed flight-plan would be allowed.

    Thanks for the finely tuned prohibition, Smith Rock. Now, I can get in the way of those people climbing Monkey Face [youtube.com].

  • Other countries have produced far more sane regulations — such as limiting drone and RC model operators to flying no closer than 30m from people or buildings

    That's not a 'sane regulation'. It prevents you from flying a palm-sized drone pretty much anywhere in a city.

    These are basically the Red Flag Acts of the drone era. Ooh, scary, Ug not like scary thing, Ug must ban!

    But, hey, if those countries don't want anything to do with one of the most important industries of the 21st century, doesn't worry me.

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