Transport Canada has released some new safety guidelines for the use of the popular drone aircraft, which people use for business and recreation.
People using the popular drone aircraft for business or pleasure should avoid doing so within eight kilometres of airports, and not operate them higher than 90 metres, Transport Canada says.
Saying she wants to see a “safety culture’’ around the use of the popular drones, or unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) Transport Minister Lisa Raitt introduced some new safety guidelines Tuesday in Toronto.
The new guidelines include avoiding heavily populated areas and not flying them over military bases and prisons.
Transport Canada is also advising against the use of drones near areas such as beaches, sporting events, outdoor festivals or fireworks shows, near moving vehicles, highways, bridges, busy streets or anywhere they might interfere with or distract drivers.
Operators should keep them in their field of vision at all times, and fly them during the daylight and in good weather, Transport Canada says.
“We want to keep our skies safe for all aircraft of all sizes,’’ Raitt told reporters in Toronto, who added she doesn’t want to “shut down” the use of drones.
Rules already in place require a special Flight Operations Certificate if the drone weighs more than 35 kg, or if the device is used for work.
If a drone is used without a required certificate, or if the certificate’s rules aren’t followed, Transport Canada can issue fines anywhere from $3,000 to $25,000.
A major concern is the use of drones near passenger planes. Raitt told reporters there’s been an increase in reports about the UAVs being flown close to passenger jets.
The Star has published stories quoting veteran pilots who’ve voiced concerns about possibly hitting the drones in the air.
The government will be in consultations over the next 18 months with the industry to come up with additional new regulations that complement those that already exist.
No longer small recreational hobby planes flown in parks and open lots, the drones are now sophisticated pieces of machinery, travel significant distances and can attain great heights. A lot of young people are mounting cameras on them to shoot videos and take pictures, which has raised some privacy concerns.
Drone users, Raitt told reporters, must also respect the privacy of others and never take photos or video without permission when there are privacy concerns.
Individuals who breach privacy could face sanctions including fines or possibly even criminal charges.
Read the original story by Donovan Vincent, here.