If you own a drone and want to fly it near St. John’s, you are now out of luck. New regulations from Transport Canada make it illegal to take flight in the area.
As of last week, the new regulations will have a big impact on anyone who is not commercially certified to fly over the metro area and beyond. Those who are caught could face fines of up to $3000.
Chris Legrow is a commercial pilot, but also owns a local company that specializes in using drones. He explains what the new law will mean for hobbyists.
He says it “pretty much eliminates the use of drones in the northeast Avalon area for the recreational user unless they have a special certificate.” The rules stipulate that you can’t operate in a radius of 9 km from an airport tower, you can’t fly over people, use it at night and it must be within 500 metres of the operator at all times. He says the laws also prohibit interfering with first responders.
Legrow has had a close call with a drone while flying a plane. For him, it happened near Seattle and it was so close, he could read the make and model of the drone. He knows people will be upset, but for him, safety is paramount.
He says “people are going to be disappointed they can’t get that great shot of Signal Hill, but this is the safe thing to do.” Legrow says “people have to understand that when they put these things in the air, they become part of the space where I go to work everyday and I spent a long time training to be there and while it’s just a little toy, it’s still there.”