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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 23rd year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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CAA.. enough already!

19 April 2017

Regular readers will know that I'm bewildered and befuddled by the way CAA seems to pay lip-service to the issue of safety.

They've come out with a raft of regulations allegedly designed to ensure that drones don't pose an unreasonable risk to person or property. Some of these regulations are good, some not so good.

I've commented on the sensibility of these regulations before so that's not the focus of today's column. Today I want to discuss something which I find totally outrageous in respect to CAA's attitude to safety and drones.

Many who are reading this will be aware that I have, on repeated occasions, asked CAA to include their little orange safety brochure as part of the immigration package that tourists receive when arriving in this country.

Despite my claims that this simple step would go a long way towards increasing compliance with the regulations and thus significantly improve safety, they continue to ignore this request.

Well read this NZH story and ask yourself "why the hell are they still doing nothing?"

Yep, despite the fact that this incident occurred back in December of last year and clearly proves my point that tourists with drones are the biggest offenders and thus the biggest risk to safety, CAA still refuse to act.

It's somewhat reminiscent of the Carterton balloon incident where CAA were clearly informed of a dangerous situation but chose to do nothing.

Sadly, eleven people paid for that inaction on the part of CAA with their lives.

Now we have CAA having been made very aware that tourists with drones are a major risk, mainly due to their ignorance of the regulations, and CAA again chooses to do nothing to mitigate that risk. And it's not as if it would take much more than to simply distribute their little orange safety brochure to visitors arriving in this country.

How many minutes away from the coffee and biscuits would it take to organise this?

What's even more telling about this particular incident is that it seems the NZH had to use the Official Information Act to get the details. Was CAA trying to cover up the fact that this really is a problem?

Remember that when Simon Reeve was prosecuted for flying his drone near a helicopter down near Christchurch, the CAA were more than welcome to feed the media with information. So why, when an incident proves my claims that tourists are the problem and that a solution is uber-simple, do they want to hide the facts?

CAA admits "He believed he was operating in the safest possible place and was not a NZ resident so wasn't aware of the CAA rules or his responsibilities as a drone operator".

Excuse me... so why the hell aren't you educating/informing these visitors like I have suggested so many times?

The really sad thing about this is that if/when someone is killed by an errant tourist who knew not what he/she was doing, CAA will (just like in the Carterton balloon incident) deny any responsibility and hide behind the fact that they were breaking the rules so it was all the offender's fault.

Well I'm sorry but that just doesn't wash with me. CAA, you have the opportunity to very quickly and easily educate these people and thus hugely improve the safety of the public and other airspace users. That you (for whatever reason) refuse to do so and then seek to hide evidence that this *is* indeed a problem should see YOU responsible when the inevitable happens.

What do readers think?

Am I just ranting or does CAA have a responsibility to take this one simple step to dramatically improve the safety of our airspace?

Just a reminder for those who haven't seen it -- here's the playlist of infringing videos I regularly add videos to and the vast majority show tourists breaking the rules, not Kiwis: Drone flights infringing CAA 101

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