New rules, fines for people using drones close to airports

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New rules for recreational drone users were announced Thursday by the federal Minister of Transport Marc Garneau.

The number of drone incidents that involve recreational drones has more than tripled since 2014.

US rules also don't have a set restriction for how far away a drone is allowed to fly from its operator, but rather require drones be kept within the operator's line of sight.

Drones will no longer be able to fly higher than 295 feet, within 246 feet of any buildings, cars or people, or within nine kilometres of any airport across the country.

Any recreational operator who fails to comply with the new flying restrictions and conditions could be subject to fines of up to $3,000.

"Minister Garneau has announced an Interim Order, which provides safety rules for recreational drone use".

"Unfortunately there have been a couple of incidents over the past little while, we've had some pilot sightings and air traffic control sightings of drones in the area", says Wood.

It has also been pointed out that there's a growing mindset that drones pose a clear and present safety threat, even though there has not been a single documented collision between a consumer drone and a manned aircraft.

Before today, Garneau said there were loose "do's and don'ts" for recreational drone use but operators didn't face repercussions for ignoring them.

"But like any new technology, drones must be used with care and we can not wait for something bad to happen before we react", Garneau said.

Canada released new regulations for flying recreational drones this morning.

"If you are a pilot, you have very strict rules that you have to work by, so it is also important that we establish strict rules for other unmanned objects that are going to go into the airspace, because they are going to be sharing the airspace", Garneau said.

"They pose a hazard and if they are over 250 grams they can cause serious damage including killing people", said Garneau.

The new measures do not apply to commercial drone pilots or users at Model Aeronautics Association of Canada-sanctioned sites and events.

In fact, Minister Garneau did acknowledge the tremendous benefits drones can bring including precision agriculture, monitoring wildlife and providing first-responders with a birds-eye view, saying the intent is not to restrict drones to the point "that we hinder innovation".

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