Transport Minister Marc Garneau announced a drone awareness program earlier this week aimed at re-enforcing the message that drones are not allowed near airports.
Signs will be posted at airports across the country as a reminder that illegally flying the unmanned aircraft could result in major penalties.
Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) VP of Operations Patrick Gilligan took part in the news conference in Ottawa and prepared the following remarks.
“[The] No Drone Zone awareness campaign announced by Transport Minister Marc Garneau, is another positive step by Transport Canada to educate Canadians on their responsibilities while flying Unmanned Aircraft.
“Flying unmanned aircraft in airways, control zones or around airports could be compared to and as criminally irresponsible as throwing a brick from an overpass on a busy highway. Airports and control zones are busy airways, where pilots focus their attention for their own safety and of their passengers. Distraction by outside sources increases the workload on the pilot.
“Currently there are hundreds of UAV reports logged by pilots including last month’s report of a drone flying at 6,700 feet near Ottawa airport interfering with scheduled airliners. Our COPA Director for Quebec Jean Messier also reported two near mid-air collisions around airports last year. One was approximately 2,800 feet while his aircraft was level at 3,000 feet. The second was reported to ATC while he was on approach to St-Hubert airport.