The Drone Wars
By OHS Canada
By OHS Canada
Last August, a Seair seaplane narrowly avoided disaster as it was landing just south of Vancouver International Airport, when a black, four-propeller drone nearly collided with it, coming about three metres from the plane’s windshield. Less than two weeks later, eight helicopters and six skimmers were fighting wildfires near Oliver, British Columbia, when they were grounded by a drone flying in the area. That was the second reported instance last summer in which a drone had endangered firefighting vehicles in the province.
Drones, also known as unmanned air vehicles (UAV), are small aircraft without human pilots onboard, usually controlled by remote or by computers. In recent years, UAVs have become more common in Canadian airspace, not only due to recreational users, but also as part of commercial applications. The drone industry has grown so quickly that there has been barely sufficient lead time for industry, users and regulators to deal with the associated safety issues.
“The way to do that would be some type of regulation and education,” says Bernard Gervais, president of the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association in Ottawa. But everything is moving too fast, he adds. Before the proliferation of low-cost drones, the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) offered safety guidelines for users of model planes. “Now it is drones and UAVs and people in their backyards, so the industry is trying to catch up with that.” | READ MORE