How about the National Capital Commission’s Gatineau Park or vast Greenbelt? Not likely. The Crown corporation says drone flights on environmental lands are generally only approved for “research purposes” and recreational use only is typically not allowed.
Drone flight is, indeed, subject to complicated regulations. They are marvellous devices of all shapes and sizes, equipped with high-end cameras, pin-point control, GPS and, on some models, surprising ranges.
Transport Canada came out with new rules that went into effect on June 1, 2019. Recreational users must register their devices and get pilot certificates, with different regulations for drones that weigh between 250 grams and 25 kilograms.
At the basic level, the drone cannot exceed 122 metres in height, must stay at least 30 metres from “bystanders” and cannot be flown very close to “controlled airspace,” like airports (5.6-kilometre buffer ) and heliports (1.9 kms). At all times, the pilot must have visual on the device.
(Even some of the lower-end drones have quite dramatic ranges and have “homing” functions where they return to the pilot from, potentially, miles away.)
There has been an explosion in the use of drones, everything from law enforcement to agriculture to construction to mining and forestry.
The need for federal regulation was underlined by some hair-raising mishaps. Drones have struck airplanes, led to the famous closure of Gatwick airport and, at least once, caused fighter jets to launch as interceptors.
MacDonald — who has seen drones operating in his neighbourhood park — thinks the city needs to loosen up and allow pilots to use their remote-controlled devices while abiding by Transport Canada regulations.
When rules are too strict, he argued, people just ignore them, a practice that seems to be widespread at the moment.
MacDonald, meanwhile, is trying to figure how to develop his hobby and get his quadcopter off the ground. (One option is private model-flying clubs, dotted around the city.)
“Realistically, under the restrictions imposed by this city policy, a pilot could quite possibly never be able to use a park for this hobby.”
Brand new, with nowhere to fly — not the launch he was looking for.
To contact Kelly Egan, please call 613-291-6265 or email [email protected]
This content was originally published here.