Aviation Safety and RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – ‘drones’) – Whenuapai Control Zone

Allen Reynolds made this Official Information request to Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited

Response to this request is long overdue. By law Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited should have responded by now (details and exceptions). You can complain to the Ombudsman.

From: Allen Reynolds

Allen William REYNOLDS

Auckland
New Zealand

21 February 2017

Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited

Dear Sir or Madam

Official information request: Aviation Safety and RPAS (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems – ‘drones’) – Whenuapai Control Zone

Please supply the following information under the Official Information Act (OIA):

As operator of the 'Airshare, your UAV hub' website, I refer to your media release – ‘UAV (aka drone) Flights on the Rise: 25,000 recorded in two years’, December 14, 2016, by Harriet Jenkins
https://airshare.uberflip.com/news-hub-a...

The item states –
““Safety is the key priority for Airways so we’re delighted at how enthusiastically UAV users, both recreational and commercial, have adopted Airshare to log flights and get airspace information,” Airways Chief Operating Officer Pauline Lamb says.”

And -
“Around half of logged UAV flights happen in controlled airspace – the areas of airspace managed by air traffic controllers. Auckland’s Whenuapai control zone records the most flights with around 50 per week. The zone includes most of Auckland’s North Shore and extends out to the Waitakere Ranges.”

So, who is flying, and where are those 50 flights per week?

Within the bounds of privacy, can you please advise more detail about those flight numbers –
- by localities/suburbs
- by day(s) of the week
- by flight type – recreation; commercial; law enforcement; others…
- by Rules - Part 101 vs Part 102
- for the years 2015, 2016, 2017 to date

Example – Muriwai/Maori Bay has average 6 flights on each Saturday and Sunday, ranging from 0 to 20, for recreational use, Part 101

Another example – commercial house photography in Coatesvile… numbers… Part 102

Another example – North Shore Model Aero Club Saturday and Sunday flight bookings for the Dairy Flat site… numbers… Part 101

If you need any more information from me please let me know as soon as possible.

I understand that a decision on a request for information under the OIA should be made within 20 working days of receiving that request.

If you do not normally deal with official information requests, or you need advice on dealing with this request, guidance is available from the Ombudsman at www.ombudsman.parliament.nz.

Yours faithfully

Allen Reynolds

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

I was phoned this afternoon by an Airways/Airshare staff member
wanting to discuss my request

please respond thru the FYI site only

I have been asking, directly to Airways, for this information since 25 January
it seems an OIA request is the way to get a response

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

Link to this

Sent request to Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited again, using a new contact address.

Oliver Lineham left an annotation ()

Airways has contacted FYI.org.nz with an updated email address as the one we previously used bounces. I have resent your request to the new address.

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From: FYI.org.nz Administrator


Attachment 20170321 OIA response to Allen Reynolds.pdf
830K Download View as HTML


Forwarded on behalf of Airways by FYI admin.

---------- Forwarded message

show quoted sections

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Yesterday, 21 March, 2:28 pm, I received an email directly from an Airways Legal Executive (name available), saying -

"We have been having problems with the FYI site log in portal. This has prevented us from uploading an OIA response which is due today.

Would you please upload the attached document..."

Are you still having problems?
If so, I suggest you resolve them with the FYI site, not me

Are you referring to the document - 20170321 OIA response to Allen Reynolds.pdf
that is currently available on the FYI site? - problem solved?

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

Link to this

From: Communications
Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited

Dear Allen

We copied you in on the email to FYI to:
1. Keep you informed; and
2. Ensure you received our response to your requests above.

FYI have since uploaded our response (above) and rectified the issue.

Kind regards
Airways Corporation of New Zealand

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Q1. Can you please explain how the information I am requesting is confidential?

The whole purpose of LOGGING A FLIGHT on Airshare is to have those DETAILS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE, as a SAFETY MEASURE, at least for other fliers, of remotely piloted and especially of crewed aircraft, for Air Traffic Control, for law enforcement agencies, and for the general public.

Refer to - https://www.airshare.co.nz/my-flights/qu...

Date/time, location, max altitude and nature of flight would be minimum details for safety

Refer also to my amended request “Q2.”, to be posted shortly…

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Q2. My OIA request is amended; the following information is requested
Row numbers refer to the table in the Airways letter of 21 March 2017; I am requesting the data that Airways currently holds (column 2)

For flights logged in the period Monday 19 December 2016 to Sunday 26 March 2017 (row 5)

Flight location by latitude and longitude coordinates (row 1)
Date and time of flights (row 2)
Whether the flight is under Rules Part 101 or Part 102, where that data is available (row 4)

I suggest the information is reported in a spreadsheet table – column headings of : Date, Time, Lat, Long, Rule Part number (“101”, “102”, blank if not known), with one line per fight booking

The request now covers a 14 week period, against 117 weeks previous – should be a much quicker job. And it covers the xmas period, when one might see an increase in RPAS availability

The period runs thru to next Sunday; I am happy to wait until next week to cover the full period

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Communications,

Commentary 1
The booking data provides a valuable resource, to study trends and changes in RPAS usage over time

Perhaps, going forward, Airshare could generate a quarterly report of booking summaries.
And retrospectively summarise past bookings - after all, if two-plus years only takes eight hours to collate, then it is hardly a drain on resources to chip away backwards a quarter or two at a time

Even give consideration to devising a more accessible format

Yours sincerely,

Allen Reynolds

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Commentary 2
I am surprised by how little reference there is to Airshare, in related RPAS data from CAA, on reports of Incidents and Events

For over three years of reports to CAA (2014 to Feb 2017) Airshare is mentioned just three times

- Airshare sent pilot a "no clearance required" response, but the operation was in the No-Ops fan (mistake?)

- flying at Centreport, as per Airshare request. Pilot unable to be contacted, not noted on log

- ATC had no knowledge of the flights until the RPAS pilot advised them as he was confirming another Airshare number

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Commentary 3
Airshare maps :

Airways says, in the letter - “Our Airshare Site provides maps on where all UAV flying sites are [sic]. We have attached the link below.
https://www.airshare.co.nz/maps”

The Airshare maps do NOT show “UAV flying sites”
They do show only -
Control zones (red)
Areas 4km around aerodromes (blue)
Low Flying Zones (orange)
Military Operating Areas (green)
Restricted Areas (blue)

They do not show other permanent areas (eg. Danger Areas) and temporary notified areas

And, as they do not show land ownership, they cannot be used to imply “flying sites”

Also, my intent was to locate ‘sites logged’, not ‘sites suitable’ – but this was better stated on my FYI request

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

Link to this

From: Communications
Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited


Attachment 20170407 OIA Response to Allen Reynolds.pdf
609K Download View as HTML


Dear Allen

Please find attached our response.

Kind regards

Airways Corporation of New Zealand

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

1. With reference to Attachment 20170407 OIA Response to Allen Reynolds.pdf :

The Attachment is a 4-page pdf document – but 2 pages are blank.
Either – re-scan the full document;
Or – confirm the two pages with text are the entire document.

2. Please post the confidentiality agreement you wish me to sign on the FYI site.

3. Addressing the ‘confidential and commercial sensitivities of Airshare users’ :

‘NOTAM-level’ latitude and longitude coordinates would suffice, and would fully ‘anonymise’ the data.

I initially asked for only localities/suburbs detail; this was too onerous to derive.

The RPAS flights are publicly advised, to ATC, to aviators, to others… by notices-to-airmen (NOTAMs); the precision of the NOTAM latitude and longitude coordinates is sufficient to ‘anonymise’ the data.

NOTAM location code example – “4054S17459E005”, where -
4054S = 40° 54' S – precise to 1 minute of latitude, some 1850 metres
17459E = 174° 59' E – precise to 1 minute of longitude, some 1460 metres
Thus, location is precise to an area of about 2,701,000 square metres = 270 hecatres (ha)

For comparison, the well known ‘Crisco mansion’, Coatesville, is 22.6 ha – just one-twelfth of the NOTAM area; so a NOTAM for this locality could also be for a dozen or more neighbouring properties – which property is being flown is clearly confidential.

And, in urban areas, properties are very much smaller – below 1000 sq.m size, there could be thousands – again, the property identity is clearly confidential.

(fyi, the ‘005’ term is operation radius; the minimum is 001 nm, some 1850m – beyond visual line-of-sight for RPAS, so not really relevant)

So, the information I request can be provided at NOTAM-level without impinging on confidential and commercial sensitivities, and so does not require a confidentiality agreement. Please supply the information forthwith…

Thank you
Allen Reynolds

Link to this

From: Communications
Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited


Attachment 20170407 OIA Response to Allen Reynolds.pdf
516K Download View as HTML


Link to this

From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Thank you for your reply of April 13

But, it only addresses one of the three points in my letter of April 09 - item 1, rescan the document

Please respond to the other points -

Item 2 : post the confidentiality agreement you wish me to sign on the FYI site

Item 3 : provide the data I request at the 'NOTAM-level of resolution' - to one-minute of latitude or longitude. As discussed in my April 09 letter, this is sufficient to anonymise the data, even in rural areas, due to the large area covered by one-minute of latitude/longitude.

Please action these items forthwith

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

In my reply of March 23, I asked the following question - you have not answered - please do so

[repeated] Q1. Can you please explain how the information I am requesting is confidential?

The whole purpose of LOGGING A FLIGHT on Airshare is to have those DETAILS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE, as a SAFETY MEASURE, at least for other fliers, of remotely piloted and especially of crewed aircraft, for Air Traffic Control, for law enforcement agencies, and for the general public.

~~
The location and date/time information I request is supplied by RPAS fliers in expectation that it could and will be made public, by NOTAM, or other means.

You simply quote the texts of the OIA sections 9(2)(b)(ii) and 9(2)(ba)(i), but do not show how providing my information would 'prejudice the commercial position...', or 'prejudice the supply of similar information...'

Please explain forthwith

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

Link to this

From: Communications
Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited


Attachment 20170504 OIA Response to Allen Reynolds.pdf
397K Download View as HTML


Dear Allen

Please find attached our response to your requests for information.

Kind regards

Airways Corporation of New Zealand

Link to this

From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Please explain forthwith your paragraph 2 of your 'Request Two' section -
"Our concern, BASED ON YOUR PREVIOUS ACTIONS [my caps], is that you may not abide by the terms... and breach the agreement..."

What are these 'previous actions' you refer to?
When have I not abided by a Confidentiality agreement?
When have I breached such an agreement?
...by posting or otherwise publicising the confidential information?
Present your evidence that proves your distrust is grounded in fact!

I take strong exception to your impertinence that I would breach an agreement.
And the way you have turned my legitimate enquiry into a personal attack on my integrity.

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

With respect to the 'Request Three' section -
What is the level of accuracy of the latitude / longitude data that you do hold, and have offered?

Presumably, to issue a NOTAM which uses lat/long's to one-minute, you would have such data to the same or better...

You were "happy to provide [latitude / longitude coordinate] information" in your letter of 06 April 2017.
And you advised in your letter of 21 March 2017 that you do hold flight "location data by Longitude and latitude coordinates".

Yours sincerely,

Allen Reynolds

Link to this

From: Communications
Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited


Attachment 20170516 OIA Response to Allen Reynolds 5.pdf
424K Download View as HTML


Dear Allen

Please refer to our attached response.

Kind regards
Airways Corporation of New Zealand

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From: Allen Reynolds

Dear Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited,

Clearly, Airways is using the OIA to obfuscate my request, to avoid supplying info

I contend that location details provided, by RPAS fliers, cannot be confidential because they were supplied with the full expectation and intention of said details being used to warn fellow aviators, aviation agencies, non-aviation agencies and even the public

The whole purpose of LOGGING A FLIGHT on Airshare is to have those DETAILS PUBLICLY AVAILABLE, as a SAFETY MEASURE, at least for other fliers, of remotely piloted and especially of crewed aircraft, for Air Traffic Control, for law enforcement agencies, and for the general public

The confidentiality agreement is a smokescreen and red herring - Airways has produced no evidence as to how the release of the location information would 'prejudice the commercial position...' or 'prejudice the supply of similar information...' - saying so don't make it so

Yours faithfully,

Allen Reynolds

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Things to do with this request

Anyone:
Airways Corporation of New Zealand Limited only: