If you plan on using drones to capture photos and videos for your business, there are certain aviation rules that must be followed. The rules do not distinguish between recreational and commercial uses of drones.

Before flying

Your drone must not exceed a total weight of 25kgs. The drone must be well-maintained and safe to operate. You should take steps to minimise any hazards to people, property, and the environment.

You can only fly during the day unless you are flying a shielded operation.

You must be able to see your drone without the use of binoculars, a monitor, or a smartphone. You should not fly your drone behind objects, or through fog and cloud.

You should ensure your drone always stays below 120 metres.


You must not fly your drone over people or their property unless you have their consent.

If you want to fly over public places or parks you should obtain consent from your local council or the Department of Conservation.

No-fly zones

You should check whether there are any airspace restrictions in the area you would like to fly over.

Generally, the airspace over and around airports, military operating areas, and danger/hazard areas, will be no-fly zones. However, as the restrictions around no-fly zones can be complicated, the Civil Aviation Authority recommend you attend a drone flying course to increase awareness of the aviation rules and airspace. You can find more information about such courses here.  

Shielded operations

A shielded operation is when the drone will remain within 100 metres of, and below the top of, a natural or man-made object, such as a building.

If you are flying a shielded operation you can fly at night, and within controlled airspace, without Air Traffic Clearance.

Failing to follow the above rules can incur hefty penalties from the Civil Aviation Authority. It pays to attend drone training in addition to obtaining advice from a legal professional if you are unsure of your responsibilities.

Leading law firms committed to helping clients cost-effectively will have a range of fixed-price Initial Consultations to suit most people’s needs in quickly learning what their options are.  At Rainey Collins we have an experienced team who can answer your questions and put you on the right track.