The weather in New Zealand at this time of year is often difficult to predict.  Auckland residents refer to "Four seasons in one day".

The windy conditions prevented us from flying the Hawk during our training week at Skycam UAV.  Since we have returned to Auckland, we have managed to fly twice, owing to the fortuitous visit of Dr. Tim Brooks to Auckland.  Both Tim and the AUT Hawk Team decided that two flights was not sufficient for us to conduct independent operations and that we need more supervised air experience. Now we are all busy with examinations etc. and can't find time for more training.

So, that was the frustration; what about the concern?

UAVs are becoming more readily available - it is possible to buy complete units for a couple of hundred dollars on the Internet, or you can buy the components and construct your own.  Small companies are springing up, offering aerial photography services, and amateurs are flying them just for fun.  At this stage of the development of UAV operations in New Zealand, we don't need publicity like the following:

The on-line newsletter, sUAS News reported that a multirotor had hit a skyscraper in New Zealand, crashed and caught fire.  It appears that the operator broke just about all the rules - the multirotor was operated in a busy, built-up area, there was no attempt at crowd control, it is probable that the flight was not authorised by either the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority or the city council, as the road was not closed.  The relatively large multirotor was carrying an SLR camera.  The video clip shows two operators, probably one to fly the aircraft, the other wearing VR goggles to control the camera.

The aircraft was taken straight up into the air, apparently without any post take-off check, and climbed to perhaps 75-100ft, at which point it moved rapidly sideways and crashed into the side of a glass-walled building, before falling to the street, where it emitted smoke, probably from the LiPo batteries.  Nobody was hurt, but the potential for injury, or damage to cars, was considerable.  The sound track suggests that someone called the emergency services, but this was not really necessary.

There have been a number of suggestions as to why the multirotor crashed.  Perhaps the operator failed to control the aircraft; perhaps there was a systems failure or loss of communication.  Obviously, there was no emergency landing procedure to kick in should there be a loss of communication.  My own observation of the conditions on the day lead me to believe that the operator lost control of the aircraft as a result of the wind gusting between the tall buildings.

Whatever caused the loss of control, this incident comes at a time when CAA is looking at writing new regulations to control the use of UAVs.  General aviation and airline pilots are, not unreasonably, becoming concerned that sooner or later, a UAV will come into conflict with their own aircraft.  Having been buzzed by a model aircraft while flying full-size, I can confirm that this is a disturbing experience. We await with bated breath the possible fallout of this incident.  Fortunately, NZCAA appears to be taking a reasonable and considered approach to regulation of UAV operations in New Zealand.

My apologies if you have already read a similar version of this post - I accidentally deleted it an hour after posting the original.