WEL uses a fleet of UAVs to inspect its network assets from the air on a regular basis. This enables equipment to be inspected more easily and frequently while being safer and faster for the inspectors.
WEL operates under a Part 102 Unmanned Aircraft Operator Certificate (UAOC) issued by the CAA. This is in accordance with the CAA rules for unmanned aircraft (CAA Rule Parts 101 and 102) and in accordance with our local authority requirements. WEL has certified systems and trained pilots to enable the flights to be as safe as possible. WEL flights are planned to be minimally intrusive for the public.
WEL UAV use is strictly controlled and all flights are logged and GPS mapped. Each UAV has a competent Pilot in Charge and safety checks are outlined for each flight.
UAV and RPAS contractors and other third parties shall not fly along the WEL Networks lines and substations without prior documented permission from a WEL manager.
WEL has CAA rule exemptions for flights over property around the network area and has arrangements with the Hamilton City Council, Waikato District Council and Waipa District Council for flights along the roading corridor.
Recreational use of UAVs around the WEL network
At no time should aerial vehicles, unmanned aircraft, or model aircraft operated by the public be anywhere near electrical lines or other electrical equipment. If you are operating a UAV, be aware of electrical assets in the environment, and ensure you and your vehicle stay well away from them as they have the potential to put the public, our staff and contractors at risk and disrupt power supply.
UAV operators should plan their flights so that a separation of at least 20 metres from overhead electrical infrastructure is maintained.
Anyone operating an unmanned aircraft that has accidentally come into contact with electricity distribution or transmission lines, transformers or other electrical equipment should not attempt to retrieve the aircraft from the vicinity of the electrical assets, but call WEL Networks for assistance on 0800 800 935.