A heavy handed interim order has just been released by Transport Canada with regards to the recreational use of drones (UAVs). The interim order appears to be a knee jerk reaction that we had expected if a serious incident had occurred, which has not happened. Whether you fly recreationally or not, please read this article and comment below.
The interim order:
Transport Canada’s message:
Under these new rules, recreational drone operators must mark their drone with their contact information, and may not fly:
- higher than 90 metres;
- within 150 metres of buildings, vehicles or people; or
- within 9 kilometres of the centre of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land.
Any recreational operator who fails to comply with the new flying restrictions and conditions could be subject to fines of up to $3,000. Call 911 or your local law enforcement agency immediately if you witness illegal drone use.
- Unmanned Systems Canada’s response
- The interim order: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/mediaroom/interim-order-respecting-use-model-aircraft.html
Further Aerobotika analysis of the order will be posted shortly.
At Aerobotika we do agree that regulation is needed and we welcome, support, and are happy to contribute to regulations for recreational use. We feel that Transport Canada’s interim order, however, is overly restrictive and as such could have the following negative effects.
- Recreational users will be defiant and fly against the rules, fostering a culture of underground and illegal hobby flying. This culture will continue as new regulations are implemented, severely reducing their efficacy.
- It will drive a wedge between recreational users and Transport Canada
- For those who decide to follow the rules, this will make it too difficult for them to fly and they will be forced to shelf their hobby until friendlier regulations are in place.
- Retailers and manufacturers will suffer with a decline in sales.
Unmanned Systems Canada, the association that represents all unmanned vehicle interests in Canada, asked Transport Canada to reconsider the interim order restrictions and to implement an order that is more lenient and promotes safe and responsible use rather than creating an environment that prevents thousands of responsible Canadians from enjoying their hobby.
Transport Canada has gone ahead with this 14-day interim order as-is. We strongly encourage all people invested in any RC aircraft hobby to comment. Public feedback and creative discussion are going to be crucial to ensuring that we have a future regulatory environment that is conducive to an enjoyable hobby and a prosperous Canadian RC industry.