Partnership lifts drone company


Digital media company 360nz is flying high.

For the past six months, the Queenstown and Wanaka-based business has been training with Flightcontroller Ltd to pass new tests enabling it to provide an extensive range of aerial imagery services.

Wanaka-based Flightcontroller is certified by the New Zealand Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to deliver expert commercial aerial services for remote-piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), more commonly known as drones.

The partnership enables 360nz to operate under the CAA’s part 102 legislation, permitting it to fly drones in a wide variety of scenarios, including higher than 120m above ground level; at night; within 4km of an aerodrome or heliport; and over populated areas.

It gives much greater scope for shooting photography and videography “wherever and whenever” 360nz is needed, director Keith Stubbs says.

“We can now shoot at public events and in many areas of Queenstown or Wanaka, as well as other locations around the country that are typically off-limits for UAV operators,” he says.

Last August, laws concerning drones changed dramatically and while 360nz embraced those changes, operating under another CAA area of operation (part 101) it found restrictions too great for some of its clients.

Working with Chris Knight from Flightcontroller has “changed the landscape dramatically” for the company.

Stubbs says 360nz specialised in virtual tour creation, as well as a variety of other digital medias.

It has been operating as a business for about four years and has a sister business in Japan.

The NZ team comprises three people and several contractors.

It is “brilliant” to work with Knight – who has a background as a commercial helicopter pilot – and it allows the company much greater scope of operation, while operating in a respectful and safe way, Stubbs says.

It recently launched 360 Sky Tours, a 360deg virtual reality product shot from the air that’s aimed at tourism offices, large real estate developments, golf courses and other large recreation/entertainment areas such as theme parks and resorts.

It is a high-level product and is planned to “reach out” overseas and hopefully have other operators delivering it, he says.

Business partner in 360nz Richie Johnston describes the 360deg elevated perspective as “unreal”.

“It engages your audience far beyond traditional imagery, especially when they’re using a VR headset,” he says.

Otago Daily Times