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You’ve likely seen them flying in a park or local tourist area, drones have become all the rage in a very short period of time. With stunning imagery and a high ‘fun’ factor, many Canadians are buying drones and taking to the skies. The question is, what is being done to keep this activity safe?
Perhaps you’ve heard news reports of rogue drones interfering with airplanes, or causing mischief, or even preventing rescue efforts for a natural disaster or accident. It is no surprise that the Canadian regulating body for drones, Transport Canada, has recently tightened the rules around recreational drone operations and is issuing fines of $3,000 for anyone in violation of these rules. Minister Marc Garneau announced the new drone regulations on March 16th 2017, and may have many Canadian drone owners asking for a refund!
Here is a brief summary of the new restrictions:
- Must fly less than 90m from the ground
- Must stay at least 75m horizontally from buildings, vehicles, animals, people/crowds
- Cannot operate closer than 9km from an airport or helicopter pad
- Cannot operate within 9km of a forest fire
- Cannot operate at night or in clouds
- Drone must remain within 500m of the pilot
How does this affect companies that use drones for their business?
This new restrictions do not apply to commercial use of drones. However, all commercial drone operations must be approved by Transport Canada through a very rigorous application process for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). This certificate is often only granted for a specific job site within a defined time duration. A company has to submit several independent SFOC applications and be approved for each job to build credibility with Transport Canada. For example, Enaeria Inc. is an aerial surveying and inspections company in the GTA in its 2nd year of operation. We have worked closely with Transport Canada for the past 2 years to be granted an approved standing SFOC for all locations across Ontario. Enaeria co-founder Daniel Matzeg says, “working with Transport Canada has really been beneficial to our clients to be able to respond to a job site immediately”.
While the new regulations make it more difficult to fly these fun drones for recreational use, we have to remember that they are put in place to maintain safely of the public a paramount.Read More
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