The Operations Manager at Harv's Air Service in Steinbach says pilots appreciate the federal government's move last week to clamp down on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) such as drones. The federal government says it announced new tougher rules before a drone hits a plane and causes a catastrophe. Adam Penner says, according to the new rules, uncertified drone operators are not allowed to fly the aircraft within 9 kilometres of either airport in Steinbach.
"Without a special flight operating certificate, you have to be farther than nine kilometres from the centre of an airport. So that means in Steinbach, the two airports overlap, meaning that there's quite a large area where you cannot fly recreationally unless you belong to a model aircraft club and are at a site that is sanctioned by the club."
Penner says that's why the local Diamond Aces Flying Club can operate its airfield just north of the city.
He has not heard of any near misses between drones and airplanes around Steinbach but says it is a general concern among pilots that it could happen.
"It's not different than if you were driving a car down the road and someone was driving a radio-controlled car on the road, it wouldn't make the driver feel very comfortable."
Penner says they offer training at Harv's Air for people who want to become certified to fly a UAV for commercial purposes.
"We teach people the regulations and also give them letters of certification so that they can apply to fly UAVs commercially. They need to get what's called a Special Flight Operating Certificate and go through the process, which is really no different than any other business; you have to have insurance, you have to have education, you're equipment has to meet a specification, things like that."
Penner summarizes the key rules that were announced last week for UAVs.
"You can't fly them higher than 90 metres above the ground. You can't be closer than 75 metres to buildings, vehicles, animals or crowds and you can't be in controlled airspace like around Winnipeg, you must be farther than 9 kilometres away from a forest fire, you can't fly at night or in clouds and you have to keep it in sight at all times."
Below is the notice from Transport Canada: