Coronavirus: What the rules say about using drones during lockdown

The CAA has cleared the air over the question of drone use.
The CAA has cleared the air over the question of drone use. Photo credit: Getty Images

The combination of beautiful weather and empty streets during the pandemic make for some pretty spectacular drone shots. But New Zealand's Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) is warning users to stick to the rules of the lockdown, even when flying a drone.

In an advisory issued today, the CAA said recreational drone pilots are allowed to operate their drones within their own property, so long as the usual CAA rules are followed and the privacy of others is respected.

Because you have to remain in your bubble at all times, you may fly into a bit of trouble should your drone make an unexpected landing, or even worse crash on someone else's property.

"You can't just go over to your neighbour's place to get it, nor can your neighbour, or anyone else, pass it back to you as both of these actions would breach the level 4 restrictions," the advisory said.

There are tighter restrictions for flying anywhere other than your own backyard. Drone use is not permitted in any public spaces such as parks or the beach while Aotearoa is at COVID-19 alert level 4.

This restriction also applies to users who have drone flying certification such as a Part 102 Unmanned Operator Certificate, unless they are being operated for or by an essential service.

"If in doubt, stay grounded," the organisation says.