Drone operator guilty of flying in restricted air space and endangering a helicopter pilot

Simon Roy Reeve was found guilty on all charges under new Civil Aviation Authority rules on drones. Photo / iStock
Simon Roy Reeve was found guilty on all charges under new Civil Aviation Authority rules on drones. Photo / iStock

A drone operator has been found guilty of flying in restricted air space and endangering a helicopter pilot preparing to fight a forest fire.

Simon RoyReeve, 38, had denied operating a Phantom 2 remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) in a controlled airspace last year at Pines Beach, near Kaiapoi during a forest fire.

The Kaiapoi man, who was the first person to be charged under new Civil Aviation Authority rules, also denied a charge of operating the aircraft on January 5 last year in a manner that “caused unnecessary endangerment to people”.

In a landmark ruling released today, after a three-day judge-alone trial at Christchurch District Court last month, Reeve was found guilty on all charges.

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