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Drone regulations welcomed at Yarmouth airport

Aerial shot of the Yarmouth International Airport
Aerial shot of the Yarmouth International Airport

YARMOUTH - The implementation of new Transport Canada safety rules for recreational drones and similar units is welcome news to management at the Yarmouth International Airport.

Airport manager Mike Fields says the potential risk associated with unregulated use of model aircraft and recreational drones is serious.

One incident at the airport a few years ago involved a teenage ferry passenger to our region who decided to do some recreational sightseeing with his drone over the town. He was unaware of the Yarmouth airport and launched the drone without determining the distance from the airport. During the flight he lost control of the drone; it flew across one of the active runways and was later found within the airport’s fenced perimeter.

“This could have had serious consequences,” said Fields.

The new measures are tailored for model aircraft, recreational drones and unmanned aerial vehicles in Canada to immediately improve aviation safety.

The Yarmouth airport experienced a 40 per cent increase, from 1,160 to 1,674 aircraft movements between 2014 and 2016. The change in aviation activity, coupled with the popularity and use of drones, has increased the risk to aviation.

Locals and visitors who fly these devices need to be aware of the new regulations and restricted airspace in Canada.

A map of the areas within nine kilometres of the centre of the Yarmouth airport and of other heliports, aerodromes or water aerodromes, where aircraft take off and land in Yarmouth County, is provided to help inform users and will be posted to the Yarmouth International Airport webpage.

Aviation activity (including events like airshows and Canadian Snowbirds performances) only occurs in airspace that is safe for both pilots and passengers.

“We’re updating our operational policies and emergency response procedures to include recreational drone activity in the Yarmouth Airport Zone, working in cooperation with first responders, including the RCMP,” said Fields.

New regulations

This map, released by the Yarmouth International Airport, shows restricted areas where model aircraft and drones cannot be operated.

The new measures will affect the operation of model aircraft and recreational drones of more than 250 g (.55 pounds) and up to 35 kg (77.2 pounds). Recreational drone operators may not fly without a SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate) from Transport Canada,

• must mark their drone with their contact information

• must not fly higher than 90 metres (300 feet);

• must not fly at night;

• must not fly within 75 metres (250 feet) of buildings, vehicles or people;

• and must not fly within nine kilometres of the centre of any airport, heliport, aerodrome or water aerodrome where aircraft take off and land

For more information visit this link.

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