The developments in UAVs all over the world, and the exponential rise in the availability of relatively cheap 'domestic' aircraft capable of carrying cameras has left regulators in New Zealand and other countries running to catch up.

It has been reported that a private organisation in New Zealand is developing a UAV operator training syllabus in conjunction with a university.  However, any qualification for UAV operators in this country will depend upon the information and requirements from the International Civil Aviation Organisation and our liaison with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority in Australia. It is the intention that new Civil Aviation Authority rules on UAS will be developed in consultation with the NZ UAS industry through the CAA website.

If you are using, or intending to use, a UAS in New Zealand, it would be a good idea to keep an eye on the CAA website and other rule making around the world.

During a discussion with CAA, it was suggested that a minimum qualification for those wishing to operate a UAV, under the supervision of a more qualified person, would be a model aircraft wings qualification.  The boys and girls of the AUT UAV team immediately latched on to this opportunity to bring our hobby into our research and purchased a couple of electric powered, remote controlled foam aircraft for training purposes.  It will be much safer to use these inexpensive ultralight models for initial training than to put at risk our Hawk UAV.  And much more fun!  Research should always contain a measure of fun.