Enthusiastic drone pilot Lynton Bridger has high hopes that the Hibiscus Coast Community RSA, where he works as welfare officer, could become a haven for drone flying.
Lynton’s long involvement with flying radio-controlled aircraft led him to an interest in drones. He bought his first drone a couple of years ago and says his initial inkling that it would be a lot of fun proved correct.
“It can do 50kph, and is easier to operate than a radio controlled plane,” Lynton says.
However, he says there is a shortage of places where they can legally and safely be flown.
“For very good reasons, you can’t have them at regional parks, or near the beach,” he says. “Anyway, you’re playing with a pretty expensive bit of machinery and if it goes in the sea, that’s it.”
Recently Lynton began the process of finding out whether the RSA and authorities such as the Civil Aviation Authority liked the idea of flying drones on the club’s land in Vipond Road.
He says Civil Aviation is right behind the idea, and it will be put to the RSA’s executive committee in due course to see if they give it the go-ahead.
“Drones have quite a lineage and are linked with the Defence Force – the first drone of note was the Queen Bee that looks like a Tiger Moth biplane. It was used as target practice and made a sound like a bee droning, which is where drones get their name.”
Lynton says should his scheme go ahead, there would be a focus on flying by the rules and not creating a noise nuisance for neighbours.
“If we set up a club for RSA members and their families – or even perhaps the general public – and they get registered, know what they are doing and are responsible, we could have a hell of a lot of fun.
It could also bring in some money. We also have the Air Training Corps based on our site, and there are a lot of young people in that group who are interested in flying.”
He says the response so far has been positive but that the decision depends on the RSA giving a detailed proposal the thumb’s up.