HAWKES BAY PHOTOGRAPHER FIRST CERTIFIED DRONE OPERATOR
Hawke’s Bay professional photographer Tim Whittaker, has become the first U.A.V. (unmanned aerial vehicle or drone) operator to be certified by CAA ( Civil Aviation Authority ) in the region and one of only 14 in New Zealand. In August strict new rules were introduced to help control the explosion of U.A.V.’s in the air. CAA designed two new sets of rules for the Radio Controlled devices. CAA rule Part 101 for most users include regulations such as a 400′ height limit, no flying after dusk, no flying over people or property without explicit permission and not within 4km of an aerodrome.
Mr Whittaker has spent nearly 4 months gaining the Part 102 certification which will allow some extensions to the Part 101 rules including flying at night, flying over property if permission cant be obtained. Part of the process to get certified included providing CAA officials with his criminal record, driving record, pilots licence record, obtaining a fit and proper persons report, C.V. and references. Also required, were several large manuals based on operations, safety and maintenance. These were written for Mr Whittakers operation by an Auckland firm . The whole exercise has cost several thousand dollars but he says will be well worth the investment.
Flying U.A.V.’s was a natural extension to Mr Whittakers love of photography and all things airborne already having held type ratings in several fixed wing planes, paramotor and paraglider, mircolight and hot air balloon. He has been flying U.A.V.’s now for over five years having built his first models from scratch.
With local authorities, police and emergency services now requiring certified contractors, Mr Whittaker said he hopes to get more work in these areas as well as expanding areas of his photographic business.
The U.A.V. Mr Whittaker uses is the latest technology capable of ultra high resolution video and stills as well as 3D mapping.
While on the job shooting some stills for Skyine Aviation I pulled out my old UAV (as the new one has embedded geo-fencing which means its not able to get airborne inside the airport boundary) and shot a little aerial footage. It was very windy but the unit was still able to stabilise the camera fairly well