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Vancouver airport says "No Drone Zone" campaign is working

(Courtesy: en.wikipedia.ca)

Vancouver airport authority has seen close calls between aircraft and drones, but no crashes

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – No Drone Zone signs are popping up along popular air traffic routes across the Lower Mainland, and the Vancouver Airport says they’re having a positive impact on air safety.

As more people take to the skies with remote controlled drones, the federal government has taken a proactive approach to prevent accidents.

Transport Canada’s No Drone Zone campaign launched in December, but new signage continues to be put up around places where people and low flying aircraft come fairly close to one another such as Vancouver Harbour, English Bay and the airport.

Vancouver Airport Authority vice president Steve Hankinson says they haven’t had any collisions between aircraft and drones, but did have multiple reports of people flying too close for comfort.

“Our No Drone Zone signage has been effective at communicating the message,” he says. “Overall what we’re seeing is that drone operators recognize the risk and are doing the right thing and operating them elsewhere.”

Hankinson adds they’ve been working with local drone associations to get the word out.

Unless airport staff see a drone, the only way to enforce safety laws is to have someone call 911 when they see a drone is unsafe airspace.

Transport Canada has issues these guidelines to keep people and planes safe:

o Staying at least 9 km away from any airport, aerodrome or heliport
o Only flying during the day and in good weather
o Not flying closer than 150m to people, vehicles, animals, and buildings
o Not flying over crowds (such as sporting events, festivals or concerts)
o Not flying higher than 90m (about the height of a 30-storey building)

Recreational drone flyers do not require a permit to fly unless their device weighs more than 35 kg. Commercial and research companies must get a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada.

Penalties for flying without proper permits or for violating other laws can range from up to $25,000 in fines or even prison time.