We encourage everyone to report any accidents, incidents or other safety-related aviation concerns. This information helps highlight where risk is most concentrated in New Zealand's aviation environment.


To report an accident, freephone 0508 ACCIDENT (0508 222 433) 24-hours, 7 days.

Or go online: Report occurrences online(external link)

Or send complete the appropriate reporting form and send it to us.

Aviation related concern

Anyone can report an ‘aviation related concern’. You don’t have to be involved in the aviation community to report something you see or hear that you think might harm aviation safety or security, or that might even be breaching Civil Aviation Rules.

Report an aviation safety concern online; or

call: 0508 4SAFETY (0508 472 338) during office hours. After hours, you can leave a message.

Or you can email isi@caa.govt.nz 

Low flying

The minimum acceptable heights for flying are laid out in a group of rules called ‘Part 91’. Briefly stated, the minimum height an aircraft is allowed to fly over a city, town, or settlement, is 1000 feet above the highest obstacle, except when taking off or landing. Generally, 1000 ft is the height at which aircraft are flown within the circuit of an aerodrome.

Rule 91.311 Minimum heights for VFR flights

The minimum height over any other area is 500 feet. There are exceptions, such as aircraft flying within a low flying training area, in agricultural aircraft operations, during emergencies, and when the genuine purpose of the flight requires the aircraft to be flown at a lower height – such as during a police operation. Note that although rescue and police operations are sometimes carried out in specially marked helicopters, they can be carried out in any aircraft.

Aircraft noise

Some people contact us to complain about noise from aircraft. If you think the aircraft is noisy because it’s flying too low, it may be breaking Civil Aviation Rules. In that case, email isi@caa.govt.nz.

Sometimes people complain about noise produced by an aircraft, but the flight is, in fact, legal. (That means the aircraft is flying at or above the minimum allowable height – see previous section “Low flying”). If there’s no threat to aviation safety, we can do very little about noise alone.

If the flight is legal but you believe the aircraft operator isn’t taking enough care to reduce noise for residents, you can contact the aircraft operator concerned directly, or your local territorial authority.

Before you do, try to note the aircraft’s registration. It will be three letters (sometimes two on a helicopter), and sometimes preceded with “ZK-”.

If you know the registration, you may be able to find the operator’s name from our aircraft register.

If you can’t see the name of the operator on the register, you can ask for it by emailing oia@caa.govt.nz.

Auckland, Wellington, and Paraparaumu airports have noise abatement procedures. If you think an aircraft is flying in breach of those, email isi@caa.govt.nz.

More information about noise abatement, see Regulatory role of the CAA in relation to noise.

Aircraft trails

Condensation trails (contrails) are formed by the condensation of water vapour emitted from the exhaust of aircraft flying at high altitude.

For more information: Aircraft trails

Aircraft effluent claims

The CAA often receives complaints between August and November about a foul smelling substance being splattered over people’s properties. The residents have asked whether this substance has come from an aircraft toilet. The results of tests and expert opinion indicates it comes from waterfowl species flying overhead.

For more information: Aircraft effluent claims

Helicopter frost protection

From September through to November, (or even early December) helicopters are used for frost protection at some vineyards. This can cause concern about safety and noise for neighbours.

These operations, however, are normal under the Civil Aviation Rules.

For more information: Helicopter frost protection