A course for commercial and recreational drone operators will be held next month in Hokitika.
Irresponsible drone usage is causing flights to be halted at major international airports on an increasingly regular basis. These incidents, and a near-miss with a helicopter at Franz Josef Glacier, have highlighted the potential safety risks drones can pose to passenger planes.
Drone use is becoming more and more popular as a hobby and for commercial purposes, with many drone operators now on the West Coast.
Hokitika Airport manager Drew Howat said the separation of drones from manned aircraft was becoming increasingly important as drones occupied more air space.
"A small drone can readily penetrate the wing of a manned aircraft. Considering aircraft wings usually house the fuel tanks, the results of a mid-air collision are likely to be catastrophic," Mr Howat said.
"The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) consider drones to be aircraft, therefore the operators are deemed to be pilots."
Last November, DWC partnered with Fly UAV to hold two drone operator courses. Due to demand, these courses will be held again in March.
Richard Milner from Fly UAV says that under the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 employers are responsible to provide training for employees on all equipment, including drones, and the 101 course is a great place to start.
Local videographer Dave Kwant attended the advanced course saying it was very informative and done in a practical hands-on way.
The one-day Part 101: Basic Remote Pilot Certificate course is $500 (+GST) scheduled for 18 March, and the two-day Part 102: Advanced Remote Pilot Certificate course if $999 (+GST) scheduled for 18-20 March.
For more information see https://flyuav.co.nz/
Participants from the Drone Operator course, held in November.