New rules regulating drone use in Canada come into effect June 1. Black Press file photo.

Valley drone operator pleased with new federal regulations

A commercial Comox Valley drone operator says he is happy with the new federal drone regulations announced Wednesday and hopes the rules will help educate the public about drone use.

Rick Ward, who operates RicksKopter.com in Royston has been flying commercially for four years, says the new rules announced by the federal government will help those who are serious about drone use.

“Right now, people have been getting drones for Christmas or they pick one up because they want to fly and get some great visuals. The new regulations make people think more; if they’re serious (about operating a drone), they will take their time and take the course.”

Federal Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced the new rules which include an online exam and the need to obtain a pilot’s certificate to operate a drone whether a person uses it for work, fun or research.

The new rules come into effect June 1.

Operators will need to register their drones and mark them with a registration number. He also introduced minimum operational age limits – 14 years of age for basic operations and 16 for advanced.

Pilots will also have to keep their aircraft below 122 metres above ground level and stay away from air traffic.

If pilots do not follow the drone rules – which apply to drones weighing between 250 grams and 25 kilograms – violators could be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and face prison time.

Ward says currently drones are easy to purchase and many people fly them without much experience. He adds there are some models which have software built into the system which does place regulations on where the drone can fly.

He has completed ground school and has his pilot licence, but as the majority of the Comox Valley is a no-fly zone, he has to get special permission to fly.

Drones are regulated by Transport Canada which has documented an increase in the number of incidents causing a risk to aviation safety in recent years.

Currently, regulations for drones that weigh more than 250 grams and up to 35 kilograms include that they must be flown to a maximum of 90 metres above the ground, only during the day, not in clouds, within 500m of the operator and at least 5.5 km from aerodromes (any airport, seaplane base or areas where aircraft take off and land).

Due to Smit Field off Forbidden Plateau Road, the Courtenay Airpark and the Comox Airport, recreational drones are forbidden to be flown anywhere between Union Bay and Saratoga Beach, or anywhere east of Comox Lake.

RELATED: No drone zones in most of the Comox Valley

For those who operate drones for survey, agricultural or police work and inspections, academic research or aerial photography for real estate, a special flight operations certificate can be obtained through Transport Canada.

Currently, if a drone is flown in a restricted area without permission, users can be fined up to $3,000.



erin.haluschak@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

YANA a blessing for Michaela, Harley, and Baby Violet

Comox Valley association a pillar of the community

Deadline looming for North Island College scholarship applications

Students have until April 24 to apply for a record number of… Continue reading

AspieComic Micheal McCreary coming to the Comox Valley

Comox Valley Child Development Association hosting the fundraising event

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

VIDEO: Snowbirds arrive in Comox for annual spring training

The Canadian Forces Snowbirds have arrived in Comox for their annual spring… Continue reading

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Flooding, climate change force Quebecers to rethink relationship with water

Compensation for victims of recurring floods limit to 50% of a home’s value, or a maximum of $100,000

Storms blast South, where tornadoes threaten several states

9.7 million people in the Carolinas and Virginia at a moderate risk of severe weather

Private cargo ship brings Easter feast to the space station

There are three Americans two Russians and one Canadian living on the space station

Notre Dame rector: “Computer glitch” possible fire culprit

The fire burned through the lattice of oak beams supporting the monument’s vaulted stone ceiling

B.C. senior sentenced for sexually abusing special-needs granddaughter

73-year-old Cortes Island man will go to jail for three years

Courtenay supports church renos, lunch program

Council approves $25,000 request from St. George’s United

Howe Sound Queen sailing toward retirement

Vessel now up for auction ends regular runs between Crofton and Vesuvius at the beginning of June

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Most Read