Twice this week at the Peterborough Airport, drones were spotted by pilots in close proximity to aircraft while they were flying around the airport.
“This is a concern for the safety of the aircraft and the safety of the pilots. If a drone is struck in flight, resulting in a mid-air collision, it could cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft, or seriously damage the plane causing an emergency situation,” explains Lisa Davidson, Peterborough Airport Manager.
“The safety at the airport is jeopardized every time a person operates a drone disregarding the rules that allow both planes and drones to operate safely. Drones are not allowed to be operated within 5.6km of an airport.”
Ms. Davidson states the drone was at approximately 1000′ above the ground both times it was spotted and was operating dangerously close to aircraft flying in the circuit.
“In one instance the drone was noted to be black and orange in colour with flashing lights, which shows how close the drone was to the pilot in that case. In both instances, Peterborough Police were called and responded to the airport to assist with trying to find the location of the drone operator,” she explains.
“Flying drones in close proximity to an airport and other aircraft is extremely dangerous, irresponsible and illegal,” says Inspector John Lyons, Operations Division, Peterborough Police Service.
“We encourage anyone with information regarding persons engaged in this behaviour to contact police or Crime Stoppers,” he says.
According to Transport Canada, drone pilots must follow the rules of the Canadian Aviation Regulations. New drone rules come into effect in Canada on June 1, 2019.
Transport Canada states that drones are aircraft—which makes the person operating the drone a pilot. When flying the drone, you’re sharing the skies with other drones and aircraft. Before flying, the public needs to understand the rules you and follow the safety tips.
A failure to follow the rules could result in strict penalties including fines and/or jail time.
Fines for individuals:
- up to $1,000 for flying without a drone pilot certificate
- up to $1,000 for flying unregistered or unmarked drones
- up to $1,000 for flying where you are not allowed
- up to $3,000 for putting aircraft and people at risk
Relevant sections of the Criminal Code could include charges of:
- Mischief – obstruct, interrupts or interferes with any person in the lawful use, enjoyment or operation of property.
- Mischief – endangering life
- Break and enter
- And offences again air or maritime safety
Transport Canada investigates reports of unsafe flying. Investigations may involve the local police service if laws are broken.
For more information please visit Transport Canada