Sorry to drone on

drone flying near aircaraft

I have had a number of exchanges on Facebook with people who fly drones for fun and for inspections. I try to help them from getting reported and fined (or imprisoned) for breach of a number of regulations. I also try to explain the rules for drone flying, both recreational and commercial but am frequently not able to get my point across.

The view, generally, is either that because they were flying for “fun”, or because they were only looking at the roof of a home 30 feet away, the regulations didn’t apply to them.   These beliefs are, I’m afraid (how can I put it nicely) wrong!

While the rules for business flying has extra requirements, (Here’s a link to a post I wrote for Home Inspectors) there are strict rules where one can and cannot fly a drone, even for fun.  The most important rule:  one CANNOT fly a drone in an area that is within 5.6km of an Airport or 1.9km from a heliport.   Since I published the aforementioned blog, I’ve had loads of calls from people that have said something like “I live ……., am I OK to fly a drone for fun?”

Frankly, while I do try to go out of my way to help people, it was getting a bit much, so I dusted off my programming skills and using a very nice API from Google, created this map.

This may not be the full list of all the airports in Ontario, but I think I got 500+ of the readily available and operational ones.

Don’t forget you are also not allowed to fly a drone recreationally in a Provincial or National Park or anywhere over the board between Canada and the U.S.A.

Read more

I was one of the representatives of the stakeholders in the UAV regulations review in Canada.  As such, I also write regularly for the Ontario Association of Certified Home Inspectors on subjects to help Inspectors and Consumers.  You might want to take a look at a couple of posts I’ve written on this matter.  I try to keep them updated with the information I get from Transport Canada.

Transport Canada has also published a list of other places where you cannot fly a drone (even for fun).  Don’t fly your drone….

  • in clouds or fog
  • higher than 90 m (300 feet) above the ground
  • closer than 76 m (250 feet) from people, vehicles or vessels
  • closer than 150 m (500 feet) from an open-air assembly of people (e.g. concerts)
  • closer than 1 km from built-up areas
  • near moving vehicles, highways, bridges, busy streets, or anywhere you could endanger or distract drivers.
  • within restricted and controlled airspace, including near or over military bases, prisons, or forest fires.
  • anywhere you may interfere with first responders.

And the interactive map we promised