Drone Hits Passenger Skyjet Inbound for Quebec City

On 12 October 2017, a Skyjet turboprop flight (not pictured) was struck by a drone while inbound to Jean Lesage International Airport in Québec City. This is the first time a drone hit a passenger aircraft in Canada. The jet landed safely. During 2017 to date, 1,596 drone incidents have been reported to Transport Canada. Of these, 131 are deemed to have been of aviation safety concern. Canada has more than 33,000 registered aircraft.

It is only inevitable that drones will continue to pose a threat to people who fly commercially. Unfortunately, the growth in the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), also known as drones, will more than triple in size from an estimated 1.1 million vehicles at the end of 2016 to more than 3.5 million units by 2021 according to the U.S. FAA. Will it take fatalities to get drones under control? (FAA Proposes Talking About Regulations for Drones and FAA Belatedly Issues Rules for Some Drones)

Given the potential public outcry it is hardly surprising that the Honorable Marc Garneau, Minister of Transport said – three days later, “Transport Canada is monitoring the situation and is in contact with its transportation partners including Skyjet, the Jean Lesage International Airport and NAV CANADA. My department is in contact with the Service de police de la Ville de Québec and we will cooperate with the Transportation Safety Board should they decide to investigate.”

“Anyone who violates the regulations could be subject to fines of up to $25,000 and/or prison. This applies to drones of any size, used for any purpose. All airports, helipads and seaplane bases are no ‘Drone Zones’ if you do not have permission from Transport Canada,” said Garneau. Transport Canada is online at www.tc.gc.ca.

Canadian Model Aircraft and Drone Operating and Flight Provisions

No person shall operate a model aircraft:

  • (a) at an altitude greater than 300 feet AGL;
  • (b) within controlled airspace;
  • (c) within restricted airspace;
  • (d) over or within the security perimeter of a police or first responder emergency operation site;
  • (e) over or within an open-air assembly of persons;
  • (f) at night; or
  • (g) in cloud.

No person shall operate more than one model aircraft at a time.

No person shall operate a model aircraft having a total weight of more 250 g (0.55 pounds) but not more than 1 kg (2.2 pounds) at a lateral distance of less 100 feet (30 m) from vehicles, vessels or the public, including spectators, bystanders or any person not associated with the operation of the aircraft.

No person shall operate a model aircraft having a total weight of more 1 kg (2.2 pounds) but not more than 35 kg (77.2 pounds) at a lateral distance of less 250 feet (75 m) from vehicles, vessels or the public, including spectators, bystanders or any person not associated with the operation of the aircraft.

No person shall operate a model aircraft:

  • (a) within 3 nautical miles (5.5 km) of the center of an aerodrome, except a heliport or an aerodrome that is used exclusively by helicopters;
  • (b) within 1 nautical mile (1.8 km) of a heliport or an aerodrome that is used exclusively by helicopters; or
  • (c)  inside an aerodrome control zone.

No person shall operate a model aircraft:

  • (a) over or within an area of natural hazard or disaster; or
  • (b) any area that is located within 9 km of an area of natural hazard or disaster.

Right of Way:

  • A person operating a model aircraft must give way to manned aircraft at all times.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.

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