New Zealand and drones are not exactly seen in the best of lights in the news today. For one, New Zealand’s airports often host incidents involving drones nearly missing flying aircrafts. This has led to numerous occasions where an airport had to reschedule flights or divert incoming ones. Alas, the threat of a full-on drone collision with a fully loaded passenger plane is one that they cannot simply take for granted.
Solutions to these alarmingly increasing incidents in airports vary from source to source. Some want stricter drone regulations, such as a national (or even international) registry for drone users to submit their data. Other regulations to keep these incidents from getting any higher involve banning drones one kilometer from airport grounds. Drones cannot fly above 400 feet, which is usually where you can find aircrafts. Flying around busy airspaces is also a fineable offense for the guilty drone operator.
Drone Detection Tool
Another suggestion floating around is an onboard drone detection tool for aircrafts. For most of the drone incidents, the drones gained attention from the crew. This is a manual process – looking through the skies and trying to detect a small drone with your eyes can be a nearly impossible task. For planes, they got lucky so far with vigilant crews spotting drones before any impact or damage took place.
Nevertheless, that cannot last forever.
This tool can detect flying drones around the subject quicker and more accurately compared to the manual method. Oceania Aviation spearheads this project, along with the Civil Aviation Authority New Zealand (CAA). The drone detector itself is small enough to store in any location. The size of a cellphone, it is very portable and can transfer if the need arises.
The detection rate of this device is also noteworthy. It can notify the pilot of any drones present within 3.5 kilometers of the device. It works not visually, but by detecting radio frequencies in the area. Drones in flight emit a disturbance in the usual radio frequencies of an area. With this device, drones can stick out like a sore thumb.
This can lead to better action from the pilots on the plane. It gives them more time to maneuver and plan their course to avoid any collision.