The Ottawa International Airport Authority is applauding new federal safety rules for recreational drones that took effect March 16.
“We are very much in favour of the new safety measures,” said Krista Kealey, vice-president of communications and public affairs at the authority.
The rules state that operators must mark drones with contact information and may not fly:
• Higher than 90 metres
• At night
• Within 75 metres of buildings, vehicles or people
• Within nine kilometres of the centre of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land.
Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced on March 16 that the measures will affect model aircraft and recreational drones weighing more than 250 grams and up to 35 kilograms.
The rules will be in effect for up to one year in an effort to make the skies safer for operators and the public until more permanent regulations are put in place.
While Kealey agreed the new rules might leave drone operators hard-pressed to find a suitable place to fly in the city, she's adamant that keeping the skies safe for all should be the priority.
It’s up to Ottawa’s drone enthusiasts to find a safe place to operate, and they’d better do their homework because the fine for failing to comply with the new restrictions can be up to $3,000.
“Transport Canada’s ongoing effort to reduce the potential threat is needed,” Mark Laroche, president and CEO of the airport authority, said in a news release.
“As drones grow in popularity, we need to work closely together to ensure that our skies remain safe for aviation activity while keeping communities safe from collateral harm.”