Kitchener-Waterloo

Proposed drone rules for recreational fliers 'overkill,' enthusiast says

Transport Canada's focus should be on educating recreational drone users on the rules currently in place rather than regulating them further, the president of Kitchener's AVI Drone Aerospace says.

Hard to keep track of smaller drones owned by hobbyists, president of AVI Drone Aerospace says

Transport Canada is proposing rules for recreational drone users, but a Kitchener enthusiast who teaches drone controllers how to fly their machines says what's really needed is more public education about the small aircraft.

"A lot of [current] rules are more focused on the commercial use of them – so when people are doing it for a job, or they're for hire or taking pictures," Scott Gray, president of AVI Drone Aerospace in Kitchener, told The Morning Edition's host Craig Norris Monday.

"For the recreational side, I think it's a bit overkill sometimes on how much they're regulated and where people can and can't fly them."
Scott Gray is president of AVI Drone Aerospace in Kitchener and says the focus should be on educating recreational drone users about the rules, not making more regulations. (Craig Norris/CBC News)

The proposed regulations would mean drones larger than toy-sized would need to be registered. The users would need to pass a knowledge test and pay for liability insurance.

'Pretty much a toy'

Gray teaches courses in piloting UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) and said for smaller drones – those weighing less than 2 kg – "they're pretty much a toy" and regulating them would be difficult.

"Tens of thousands of them are being sold across the country. It's going to be hard to keep your thumb on that," he said, and the technology's popularity is growing. "In the last, five, six, seven years, it really exploded."

Instead, the government should focus on educating people on the rules that are already in place.
Visitors take pictures of a DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter drone on the Photokina, the world's largest fair for imaging in Cologne, Germany on Sept. 20. The president of Kitchener's AVI Drone Aerospace says Transport Canada should focus on educating recreational drone users on the rules currently in place rather than introducing more regulations surrounding their use.

Some drone users, he said, "have no idea that there are regulations that sort of govern some of these things, what you can do with them.

For example, you can't fly them more than 300 feet high, you have to stay away from airports, five miles out. And if people start breaking those rules, that's when you see them on the news, it's usually people who didn't even know there were rules."

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

now