April 23, 2014 10:50 pm

Concerns growing over possible conflicts between drones and aircraft

VANCOUVER – More than five months after a YouTube video was first published, concerns are growing about possible conflicts between drones and aircraft.

Drones are unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and are soaring in popularity.

However, a video posted by ‘Quadrotor Dragonfly’ shows a remote-control drone shooting video of a jet landing at Vancouver International Airport. The drone appears to be at about the same altitude as the jet and not very far away.

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Transport Canada regulates drone use in this country and is trying to track down the owner of this one.

“Air Canada 777 observed a small helicopter, he thought it was a real helicopter,” said Bill Yearwood from the Transportation Safety Board. “But when he got closer he realized it was a remote control helicopter.”

He said encountering something like this on final approach in a jet can be disconcerting, if not outright dangerous.

“Quite a sophisticated toy,” he added. The technology is quite good, it makes it easy for somebody to operate and it can operate far away from that person, so that combination can present a hazard if used by irresponsible operators.”

In an email statement from Transport Canada they said:

“Transport Canada is aware of the videos posted on YouTube showing a unmanned air vehicle (UAV) flying near Vancouver International Airport and Vancouver Harbour.

Transport Canada is very concerned about the operations of this UAV and we have been working with the RMCP to determine the operator’s identity. We are continuing to investigate the incident. We urge anyone with information on the videos to please call Transport Canada or email the Civil Aviation Issues Reporting System at http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/secretariat-cairs-menu-209.htm to report this or similar incidents.”

Yearwood said even if a jet engine ingested a drone, it probably wouldn’t cause a crash as the jet could keep flying on the other engine, but they do not want to investigate any aircraft / drone collisions.

 – With files from John Daly

© Shaw Media, 2014

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