Airliner has 'near miss' with drone on approach to Vancouver

The plane, inbound from Saskatoon, was flying at 7,000 feet when its crew spotted the drone.

Transport Canada, RCMP notified of the incident

Air Canada regional partner Jazz Aviation said one of its planes had a 'near miss' with a drone on its approach to Vancouver on Tuesday. (Radio-Canada)

A Jazz airliner flying into Vancouver had a "near miss" with a large drone on Tuesday, prompting renewed safety calls and an appeal for information from the RCMP.

The plane, inbound from Saskatoon, was flying at 7,000 feet when its crew spotted the drone.

A statement from Jazz didn't specify exactly where the drone was seen or how close it was to the aircraft — but 7,000 feet is well in excess of the 300-foot height restriction imposed on drones.

A spokesperson said the crew didn't need to change its flight plan to avoid the drone, but Transport Canada was still notified, and the Richmond RCMP was called to the scene.

Under Transport Canada guidelines, drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) must, among other restrictions: 

  • Fly no higher than 90 metres above the ground.
  • Keep at least 30 metres away from vehicles, vessels, or members of the public.
  • Keep at least 5.6 kilometres away from airports.
  • Fly within 500 metres, and sight, of the operator.

Pilots who break the rules and put a plane in danger can be sent to prison or fined up to $25,000.

"Endangering the safety of an aircraft is a serious offence," said a statement from Transport Canada.

Last month, a WestJet airliner had its own near miss with a drone at 4,000 feet in the air.

Anyone with information about the B.C. incident is asked to call Richmond RCMP at (604) 278-1212.

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