There are many good places to fly drones in Lower Hutt, and some where they should not be flown. If you are flying a drone, you need to be aware of, and follow the CAA Rules Part 101.
Where can I fly my drone?
You can fly drones in some Hutt City Council owned and managed parks and reserves, except for Taita Cemetery.
Some of Lower Hutt is within the controlled airspace of Wellington Airport or within 4km of an aerodrome. This includes 4km from the helicopter landing site at Hutt Hospital. CAA rules state that you must obtain air traffic control clearance to fly in these areas. There are some exceptions for shielded operations.
The interactive map on the AirShare website shows where you can and can’t fly your drone in more detail. The site also has My Flights, where you can log your planned drone flights for approval.
If you’re unsure about where you can fly your drone, check with the CAA.
Where can’t I fly my drone?
You can’t fly your drone:
- over roads,
- over vehicles, parked or in use,
- over a sports field if in use by others,
- over parks where a large group of people are gathered,
- within 20 metres of:
- or over, any cemetery,
- or over, livestock,
- sensitive wildlife habitats,
- nesting or roosting birds (eg. the NZ dotterel),
- or over, any park buildings (eg. the Ricoh Sports Centre)
- during a prohibited fire season over any Hutt City Council bush reserve without the permission of Council,
- adjoining private property.
To fly over conservation lands and waters, you need a concession or authorisation from the Department of Conservation.
When flying a drone, you must:
- not operate an aircraft that is 25 kg or heavier, and it must always be safe to operate
- take all practical steps to minimise hazards to people, property and other aircraft (ie, don’t do anything dangerous)
- fly only in daylight,
- give way to all crewed aircraft
- be able to see the aircraft with your own eyes (eg, not through binoculars, a monitor, or smartphone) to ensure separation from other aircraft (or use an observer to do this in certain cases)
- not fly your aircraft higher than 120 metres (400 feet) above ground level (unless certain conditions are met)
- have knowledge of airspace restrictions that apply in the area you want to operate
- not fly closer than 4 kilometres from any aerodrome (unless certain conditions are met)
- when flying in controlled airspace, obtain an air traffic control clearance issued by Airways. See the AirShare website.
- not fly in special use airspace without the permission of the administering authority of the area (eg, military operating areas or restricted areas)
- get consent from anyone you want to fly above
- get consent from the property owner or person in charge of the area you are wanting to fly above
These rules may change from time to time. For the current safety rules that must be followed in New Zealand, see the CAA website.
What types of drones can I fly in public areas?
The types of drones you can fly in public areas are:
- Electric-powered, remote-controlled drones capable of vertical take-off and landing.
- Remote-controlled fixed-wing model aircrafts with a wingspan under 2m.
- Electric fan jet-powered models, weighing less than 1.5kg.
- Bungee or winch-launched aircrafts with a tow line that is 15m or under.
These rules also apply to model airplanes.
Drones weighing more than 25kg are considered pilotless aircraft. You must have authorisation from the CAA to fly a drone weighing more than 25kg, and be certified under the CAA Rule 102.
Reporting safety concerns
If you have specific concerns about a possible rule breach related to the safety of drone operation, please contact the CAA. Breaching the civil aviation rules when flying a drone can lead to a fine, a written warning, or prosecution by the CAA.