Drone flying lessons have not taken off
A man’s plan to run drone flying courses at the Tokoroa Airfield may not get off the ground unless a compromise can be found.
Bruce Simpson is at odds with the South Waikato District Council over his ambition to teach people how to fly drones at the airport.
He says he has $40,000 to start the courses and hundreds of people who have expressed interest, via his popular Youtube channels.
Simpson said he sees no reason why the council should turn down the opportunity to bring the venture - and tourism - to the town.
South Waikato District Council spokeswoman Kerry Fabrie said the Council have not said ‘no’ to Simpson. In fact they thought is was a good idea and there were opportunities for Simpson to do just that.
They had offered Simpson the opportunity to hire the airport, including placing a NOTAM (which is a notice to other civil aviation users) so that he can do this.
‘‘Mr Simpson, on the other hand, would like a three month exclusive use of the airfield under which he would have authority and control of the airfield during this time and that Council would delist the airfield.
‘‘Council cannot approve this. There are other clubs and users at the facility that need to be considered. We have also offered Mr Simpson facilities (other reserves) for him to undertake this, but this has also not been accepted.’’
Along with not being able to train people to fly Simpson is disgusted that ratepayers and children are unable to fly drones in parks without certification.
‘‘There is no public place to fly a drone in Tokoroa unless you have the certification that isn’t actually necessary, but yet the Council demands that you have it.’’
He said ‘‘Kids shouldn’t need a certification, they just want to take their toy christmas morning, go down to the park with their little helicopter, fly it, no one is going to get killed.’’
‘‘I don’t want to see the kids of this town basically denied an opportunity, and the Council shouldn’t allow that.’’
Fabrie said Children can fly drones in Tokoroa and they were ‘‘continually baffled’’ by Simpson’s insistence that council has a rule that says they can’t.
‘‘They can, but need to comply with CAA rules, exactly the same as every drone user in the country’’