Flying a drone? Learn your responsibilities

·2 min read

Following a complaint to the Nottawasaga OPP about a drone hovering outside of a home’s windows in Adjala-Tosorontio, Police said they have not determined if the drone was taking photos or videos.

However, there is very little reason to fly a drone that does not contain some kind of imaging device.

There are plenty of reasons why someone would be flying a drone. From hobbyists to legitimate photo or video companies, aerial photography has become very popular.

When it comes to flying a drone, there are some things you should be aware of before you take to the skies.

With four whirring blades, a drone can become a very dangerous object if it flies into an area where people are congregating. As such, there are rules for both hobbyists and professionals when it comes to buzzing around the neighbourhood.

For small hobby drones up to 250 grams, you do not need to register the craft or get a valid pilot certificate.

However, that does not mean you can fly anywhere you want to. Even a small drone is an aircraft once it leaves the ground and the operator is responsible for his craft.

You cannot fly a drone within a certain distance of airports or heliports. Even a small drone could spell disaster if struck by a manned aircraft.

Once you are up in the air, you must respect all other laws related to voyeurism and privacy. So, in the case of the drone in Adjala, if you use your drone to spy into your neighbour’s windows, you could be charged with an offence.

You are also responsible if your drone injures someone on the ground.

For this reason, operators are encouraged to stay away from events like concerts where an out-of-control craft could drop in on the crowd.

If you plan on flying a drone that weighs from 250 grams up to 25 kilograms, or you are flying for commercial reasons, you will be required to get an operating certificate.

Anyone who flies a drone for commercial purposes without certification is subject to some pretty heavy-duty fines. You can also be fined for flying an unregistered or unmarked drone, flying where you’re not allowed, or putting other aircraft or people at risk.

Flying a drone can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but if you take to the skies, be sure to respect your neighbour’s property and privacy while you’re in the air.

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Brian Lockhart, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, New Tecumseth Times

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