Flights were suspended temporarily at Auckland Airport on the night of April 27th. causing some international and domestic arrival delays after a drone was spotted by a pilot. A Barrier Air flight pilot saw the drone at 5pm, reporting it came within around 30m of the aircraft.

Airways NZ head of public affairs Jamie Gray said flights were suspended for 15 minutes in response to the drone sighting.

“This temporarily delayed domestic and international arrivals. Normal operations resumed at 5.45pm.”

Police were advised and the matter had been reported to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) as a safety event, Gray said.

There have been 21 drone incursions reported in controlled airspace in the year to date.

“These are events where a drone is flying without authorisation in controlled airspace and is close enough to an aircraft or airfield to be spotted by pilots, air traffic controllers or members of the public.”

He said not all drone incursions result in flight disruptions but each incident is risk assessed and the appropriate action is taken.

Only last week a chief helicopter pilot was left fuming after a person flew a drone near the Dunedin Hospital helipad as a helicopter was about to take off.

The helicopter was about to take off at 6.40pm on April 21 when an paramedic onboard spotted the drone with a flashing red light flying about 20m southwest of the helipad and about 5m above it.

Source: NZ Herald

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