Fanshawe College is helping drone pilots through a flying compliance certificate, following anticipated heightened Transport Canada regulations.
Unregulated commercial drones have put unmanned aerial vehicles in the hands of any enthusiastic pilot, disregarding age factors or basic flight knowledge.
“I can buy (a drone) off the shelf. I can go to one of the video places or hobby stores and strap a camera to (a drone) and fly it wherever I want,” said Mike Anderson, a professor of the recent unmanned aerial vehicle program addition at the Norton Wolf School of Aviation Technology. “They make fabulous home videos so people will actually use them when they’re not supposed to and that’s when the education has to come in.”
The six-course certificate program, among more than 10 new programs at Fanshawe, offers a compliance course that will be made mandatory for drone-flyers later this year by Transport Canada. It’s the federal government’s way to tackle the fallout of the growing popularity of unmanned aircrafts.
“It’s the wild west and (drone-flyers) have lots of oppourtunity to do what they like,” said Stephen Patterson, chair of the school, regarding the lack of regulations’ knowledge for drone buyers. “As compliance training is made mandatory by Transport Canada, everybody is going to have to come in and fall into suit. That’s when the program will become more alive”
It’s illegal to operate drones nine kilometers to any airport or heliport, as well as fly over populated areas or busy roads and streets, rules that are often broken by avid flyers, said Patterson.
London police service reminded avid-flyers of regulations in a news release early August after a medical helicopter leaving London’s airport was dangerously distracted by an unmanned drone flying illegally nearby.
However, Patterson is hopeful that dangerous incidents will plummet after a compliance course is made mandatory this year, along with anticipated increases in program registration next fall.