Know rules before takeoff

Alanna Kelly

In order to fly a drone, Canadians will need to pass an online exam and get a pilot's certificate.

New regulations will come into effect June 1 and apply to all drone operators.

The announcement made Wednesday by Transport Minister Marc Garneau places rules around age, the weight of drones and at what height they can be flown.

Kelowna International Airport director Sam Samaddar says they have had drones being flown around the airport.

“We’ve had incidents where drones were sighted near the airport, and we’ve been working with the public to educate them on the dangers of having drone activity in close proximity to aircraft landing and taking off,” said Samaddar.

He thinks the new regulations are a positive development.

“It contributes to the awareness of people that are actually using these devices, but it is also about safety and adds safety to the environment in terms of making sure people know how to use these devices properly,” said Samaddar.

The Canadian Press reports that operators will be required to register their drones and mark them with the registration number.

“If you put an object in the air, in this airspace of this country, you are in fact piloting it, and if you cause an accident it can have enormous repercussions,” said Garneau.

Kelowna-based drone racer Stew Alcock says the new regulations are a good thing.

“Only makes sense that if you are operating something that has potential to be dangerous, you should have some sort of certification,” he said.

For basic operations, you need to be at least 14 years old, and at least 16 for advanced operation.

Pilots will have to keep their aircraft below 400 feet above ground. They must also stay away from air traffic.

Drones must be kept within their sightline and at least 30 metres from other people at all times. Pilots will also have to avoid public events, according to The Canadian Press.

- with files from The Canadian Press

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