Flying under Part 101 Rules - Pilot Qualification Not Mandatory but Recommended

When flying a drone in any circumstances, you are legally required to comply with all relevant aviation laws and rules at all times. For that reason, we strongly recommend as a minimum that you attain your NZ Part 101 RPAS Pilot Certificate to ensure you understand your legal obligations and you have a baseline level of aviation knowledge.
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So long as you are complying with the following conditions you are not required to have any qualification (BUT read on):

  • Not operating in the hours of darkness (unless this is being carried out under a shielded operation)
  • Not operating within 4kms of an airport/heliport (unless this is being carried out under a shielded operation)
  • Not operating above 400 feet (120 meters) above ground level
  • Not operating within a controlled airspace beyond the 4 km limit of airports
  • Not flying over people without their permission
  • Not flying over property without the permission of the landowner (incl roads and railways)
  • Not applying liquid spray or pellets to pasture
  • Not flying a drone with an unladen weight greater than 25 Kgs

Note: Before you operate your drone in public spaces like parks, reserves or Dept of Conservation land, you need to check with the local council or Dept of Conservation as they may impose their own restrictions over and above CAA rules

This means you intend to fly under Part 101 CAA rules (CAR101).

When flying a drone in any circumstances, you are legally required to comply with all relevant aviation laws and rules at all times.

Drone Trust Recommends

As you are legally required to comply with the laws and rules, we strongly recommend as a minimum that you attain your NZ Part 101 RPAS Pilot Certificate to ensure you understand your legal obligations and you have a baseline level of aviation knowledge. If you were to become a holder of a Part 101 Pilot certificate, you are then also permitted to fly within 4 Kms of an airport/heliport. (subject to your complying with standard procedures required by air traffic control and/or airport operators)

Furthermore, there is also good reason for you to consider attaining the higher qualification NZ Professional Pilot Certificate (to Part 102 standard) even though you still intend (and are only permitted) to fly under Part 101 rules.

Reasons include:

  • The increased cost for the higher qualification is just marginally more.
  • You will receive a recognised pilot certificate from a CAA certified training organisation.
  • You will attain a higher level of aviation knowledge.
  • Having a NZ RPAS Professional Pilot Certificate Course (to Part 102 standard) will enable you to look at a wider range of career opportunities by being able to work under an organisation’s Part 102 UAOC (Unmanned Aerial Operators Certificate). This may also be subject to other possible additional training requirements by that organisation. Note that that the RPAS Professional Pilot Certificate is different to the organisation’s Part 102 UAOC certificate. (we are happy to discuss this if further clarification is required)

Note: This still means that you are only permitted to fly under the restricted conditions that a Part 101 certificate allows. The term for this is flying under Part 101 rules (CAR 101) If you want to know more about the requirements to be able to fly under Part 102 rules once you become an RPAS pilot to Part 102 standard please discuss this with one of our specialists at Drone Trust