Saskatoon Airport seeing increase in recreational drone incidents, pleased with changing regulations

In this Feb. 13, 2014, file photo, a drone is demonstrated in Brigham City, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

Recreational drone users in Canada are facing new restrictions on where and when they can fly after Transport Canada announced its latest guidelines last week.

The Saskatoon Airport hasn’t seen a lot of drone incidents, but the numbers are going up.

“(In) the last five years, we’ve had two incidents,” said Andrew Leeming with the Saskatoon Airport Authority. “But, both of those have happened in the last six months, so that tells you about the ramp up.”

Leeming says both of those cases saw drones within 150 feet of the airport, causing tense moments for airline pilots and their passengers.

“If the engine ingests it or damages the aircraft, at the very least they could interfere with the full-functioning of the aircraft,” Leeming said. “Or, it could be a serious safety hazard.”

New drone regulations mean recreational users can’t fly within nine kilometres of an airport or within 75 metres of any people. Drones can only fly to a height of 90 metres and they can’t be flown at night or in cloudy conditions.

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