Edmonton drone user charged for 'hazardous' flying

The Edmonton Police Service has charged a man found flying a drone over downtown buildings and roads, actions deemed dangerous under Transport Canada guidelines.

The machine was spotted flying low over downtown Edmonton

Drone sightings at London's Gatwick Airport and the subsequent shutdown has raised questions about safety at Canada's airports, (Rick Bowmer/Associated Press)

For the first time, Edmonton police have charged a man for unsafely operating an unmanned aerial vehicle after a drone was flown over Rogers Place and other downtown buildings.

An Edmonton constable trained as a drone operator noticed a drone flying over downtown buildings, roads, the MacEwan LRT Station and Rogers Place, near 105th Avenue and 104th Street on Sept. 7, an action deemed dangerous under Transport Canada guidelines.

The drone was too close to the Royal Alexandra Hospital heliport, which is used by STARS for transporting patients to and from the hospital, police said in a news release Wednesday.

Police charged a 23-year-old man with two offences.

Under a municipal bylaw, he is charged with operating model aircraft without a permit on parkland.

Under Canadian Aviation Regulations, the man is charged with flying a model aircraft in a manner that is or is likely to be hazardous to aviation safety.

Police laid the charges on Monday after consulting Transport Canada and Crown prosecutors.

Transport Canada outlines a list of rules and restrictions when flying drones.

UAVs can't be operated closer than 9 km from an airport, heliport or seaplane base, near bridges, busy streets or anywhere that could distract drivers, nor within controlled airspace or over military bases and prisons.