Rigorous rules proposed for recreational drone flyers,documents show
‘The recreational users are going to have to meet morestringent safety requirements,’ federal official says
By Ashley Burke, CBC NewsPosted: Oct 19, 2016 5:00 AM ET Last Updated: Oct 19, 2016 8:01 AM ET
New droneregulations coming, says Transport Canada ](http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/drone-regulations-transport-canada-1.3390895)
Licence andregistration, please: New rules for drones are on the way ](http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/canada-u-s-drones-rules-1.3280065)
Transport Canada is proposing that anyone flying adrone bigger than a tiny toy should have to register their devices, pass aknowledge test and pay for liability insurance, CBC News has learned.
Droneregulations coming, says Transport Canada](http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/drone-regulations-transport-canada-1.3390895)
Drones getmore popular, and the rules are getting stricter
The department is proposing that anyone operating a droneweighing more than 250 grams, including recreational users, should fallunder more rigorous regulations expected to be introduced in 2017.
“The proposed floor for very small UAVs is intended tominimize the risks to persons, based on the speed and potentiallethality,” the briefing note says. It adds that even “verysmall” drones can travel quickly and impart so much energy upon impactthat there is a 30 per cent “likelihood of lethality.”
‘Just getting too strict now’
The department’s plans are “overkill,” saidOttawa-based drone user Nick Howe.
“I think it’s just getting too strict now.”
Howe spent more than $2,300 on his recreational drone,including special parts, and has travelled across Canada making videos toshowcase aerial views of the country online. Just because some people areacting irresponsibly doesn’t mean all recreational users should have to pay theprice, he said.
“It just means more money I’m going to have tospend,” said Howe, who also started producing videos for real estatecompanies. “It’s a lot more of a hassle than anything.”
Transport Canada staff began looking into regulations fordrones in 2010. Since then, the industry has boomed, prompting safetyconcerns.
“We need to regulate that to make sure that we don’thave a disaster,” said Aaron McCrorie, Transport Canada’s director generalof civil aviation, in an interview. “The recreational users are goingto have to meet more stringent safety requirements now.”
McCrorie has seen a dramatic increase not only inthe number of people buying drones, but also the number of users flyingthem dangerously close to airplanes and buildings.
In 2010, the department investigated one incident. In 2016,the department has investigated 82 potential infractions as ofSept. 1.
“We do have instances of these things crashing intovehicles, for example, so there has to be some means of accounting for the costof those damages,” McCrorie said, emphasizing the need forliability insurance.
Transport Canada is also considering age restrictions fordrone users, as exists for pilots. The department is proposing a minimum age of14 to operate a very small drone and a minimum of 16 to operate a droneheavier than one kilogram, according to a briefing note from April.
The government also plans to stop regulating based onrecreational versus commercial use. The new model is based on how muchpotential risk a drone could cause based on its weight and where it’sflown, according to Transport Canada.
But recreational drone user Andrea Robertson believes 250grams is “far too low” to fall under the new regulations.
Robertson, an Ottawa resident known as Lady Drone onYouTube, is afraid of heights, so she flies a Phantom drone to live theexperience through her camera. She’s glad there are new regulationscoming and agrees drones can be dangerous, but has concerns about findinginsurance to cover her if there’s an accident.
"Because I’m a hobbyist, not a commercial flyer, Ihaven’t been able to find any insurance companies that will provide insurance,"Robertson said. “The insurance companies, at this point, are onlyinterested in commercial fliers.”
Andrea Robertson flies drones as a hobby and says she hasbeen struggling to get insurance to cover her if she has an accident. (AshleyBurke/CBC News)
‘Less red tape’ for commercial users
Meanwhile, the proposed regulations could mean a lot lessred tape for those using drones for commercial use, such as making real estatevideos or inspecting construction sites. Instead of having to reapply at leastevery year for a certificate to fly drones commercially, it could get a loteasier.
“You go through the process once and then you’ll have alicence just like having an automobile licence,” said Mark Aruja, chairmanof the Board for Unmanned Systems Canada, a group that co-chaired the workinggroup to help develop the regulations.
“The expectation is we’ll have less red tape goingforward,” added Aruja. “But there will be a significant bar to meetin terms of getting that operating licence.”
Transport Canada launched consultations in 2015and received more than 100 written submissions. Staff members arecurrently drafting the regulations that could still change, and working todevelop the necessary licensing and exams before the regulations come intoeffect, likely sometime in 2017.