Flying a drone without a licence? You could be fined up to $5,000
As of Saturday, people caught flying drones that weigh between 250 grams and 25 kilograms without a federal licence could face fines of up to $5,000.
There are two different types of licences now offered by Transport Canada: basic and advanced.
The basic category is meant for people who never fly in controlled airspace or within 30 metres horizontally of bystanders. The basic category requires passing a $10 online exam, registering with Transport Canada, marking the drone with its registration number, and carrying the pilot certificate whenever the drone is in use.
The advanced category requires all of the above, plus an in-person flight review and special permission from air traffic controllers whenever flying in controlled air space.
Users must be 14 years of age or older to take the basic exam. They must be 16 or older to take the advanced exam.
Flying drones without a licence could mean fines of $1,000 for recreational users and $5,000 for commercial users.
Winnipeg drone enthusiast Evan Turner says he believes the government regulations “hit it pretty well on.”
“Something that’s over 250 grams can definitely hurt somebody if you’re going fast enough, or cause property damage,” he told CTV Winnipeg.
Calgary-area drone user Chris Healy also likes the regulations, because he no longer needs special permission each time he wants to fly.
“Anyone with proper training and proper licensing can (now) get the perspective of Earth which was usually meant for the purview of pilots or astronauts,” he said.
Drones that weigh under 250 grams are exempt from licensing. Drones that weigh more than 25 kilograms have their own set of rules.
Transport Canada says that drones should be flown where the pilot can see them at all times, below 122 metres, at least 5.6 kilometres away from airports and 1.9 kilometres from heliports.
Transport Canada has a list of drone flight schools on its website.