Need to know what to do and who to talk to when operating near an uncontrolled aerodrome? Read on to find out!

You are only allowed to fly your drone within 4km of an uncontrolled aerodrome or helipad if certain conditions are met. It's important you are aware of these conditions as flying near an aerodrome or helipad can create a hazard to other aircraft. 

The advice provided below is for operations that are not shielded. Shielded operations do not need to meet conditions 1-3. 

What is an "uncontrolled" aerodrome or helipad?

An uncontrolled aerodrome or helipad means that there is no Air Traffic Control service provided. This means that there are no Airways Air Traffic Controllers managing the airspace around the airfield. It also means there is no "controlled airspace" around the airfield.

AirShare depicts uncontrolled aerodromes and helipads on our maps as blue 4km circles. if you are planning to fly in one of these blue circles, read on to find out what you need to do.

1. Qualifications Required:

Firstly, you will need to hold (or be supervised by someone who holds) an approved qualification. These include the following:

A Model Flying New Zealand Wings Badge
A Pilot Qualification (from an Approved Person or Organisation)
A Pilot Licence or Certificate issued under Rule Part 61 or Part 149
Under Supervision
* please contact the CAA on for a list of approved remotely piloted aircraft instructors
2. Aerodrome Operator Agreement Required:

You need to obtain agreement from the operator of the uncontrolled aerodrome you are operating near. if you are within 4km of more than one uncontrolled aerodrome, you need permission for each aerodrome operator.

To obtain agreement, we recommend:

Logging your flight in AirShare to find out if you are near an uncontrolled aerodrome (or other airspace restrictions). This also creates a great flight history for you!
Using the AirShare maps when you log your flight to get the contact details of uncontrolled aerodrome operators. (Tip: Click on the blue circle!)
Call the aerodrome operator prior to your planned flight to ask for the agreement to operate.
3. Observer Required:

To operate within 4km of an uncontrolled aerodrome you are required to have an observer in attendance while your aircraft is in flight.

4. Additional Information:

As well as meeting the requirements outlined above, you must not:

Fly over any active movement area of the aerodrome (e.g. the runway or taxiways).
Controlled Aerodromes:

Being the helpful people we are, we've also put together a quick note on Controlled aerodromes :)

These are aerodromes which have Airways Air Traffic Controllers managing the airspace around them. This is because these aerodromes are really busy with air traffic!

Controlled aerodromes are surrounded with "controlled airspace" which extends much further than a 4km radius and goes right down to the ground. If operating within 4km of a controlled aerodrome the requirements outlined above (apart from #2) still apply. 

To fly within controlled airspace you must:

Log your flight in AirShare
Carefully read the instructions in the automated email you will recieve
Telephone the relevant air traffic control unit prior to your planned flight for final clearance
Telephone again to confirm your flight had finished