Drone spotted flying illegally near Peterborough Airport

Beside being dangerous, flying drones near airports can result in fines and jail time

Drones are not allowed to be operated within 5.6 kilometres of an airport. (Stock photo)
Drones are not allowed to be operated within 5.6 kilometres of an airport. (Stock photo)

Peterborough police are reminding residents that airports, including the Peterborough Airport, are “no drone zones”.

Twice this week at the Peterborough Airport, pilots spotted a drone in close proximity to aircraft while they were flying around the airport.

“This is a concern for the safety of the aircraft and the safety of the pilots,” says airport manager Lisa Davidson. “If a drone is struck in flight, resulting in a mid-air collision, it could cause the pilot to lose control of the aircraft, or seriously damage the plane causing an emergency situation.”

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Drones are not allowed to be operated within 5.6 kilometres of an airport.

Davidson says that the drone was spotted twice flying appropriately 1,000 feet above the ground, dangerously close to aircraft flying in the circuit.

“In one instance the drone was noted to be black and orange in colour with flashing lights, which shows how close the drone was to the pilot in that case,” she pointa out.

“In both instances, Peterborough police were called and responded to the airport to assist with trying to find the location of the drone operator.”

Police encourage anyone with information regarding people who are flying drones near the airport to contact them or Crime Stoppers.

According to Transport Canada, drones are aircraft (which makes the person operating the drone a pilot) and drone pilots must follow the rules of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

New drone rules come into effect in Canada on June 1, 2019.

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Failure to follow the rules could result in strict penalties including fines and jail time.

Fines for individuals include up to $1,000 for flying without a drone pilot certificate, flying unregistered or unmarked drones, or flying where you are not allowed. If a drone operator puts aircraft and people at risk, they can be fined up to $3,000.

In addition, police can charge drone operators under the criminal code for mischief (obstructing lawful use or operation of property or endangering life), break and enter, and offences against air or maritime safety.

A Transport Canada infographic showing where you can fly a drone. (Graphic: Transport Canada)
A Transport Canada infographic showing where you can fly a drone. (Graphic: Transport Canada)