December 15, 2015 11:31 pm
Updated: December 15, 2015 11:32 pm

Aviation industry aims to make airports a ‘no drone zone’

WATCH: The U.S. government has announced owners of drones will be required to register the devices. Ted Chernecki looks at whether that's being considered for Canada, too.

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Drone sales are soaring and that has a lot of people in the aviation industry more than a little concerned.

“Retail analysts are predicting the sale of more than one million drones across North America this holiday season,” Steve Hankinson, Vancouver Airport Authority vice president, said.

That’s why Transport Canada and Vancouver International Airport launched a no drone zone campaign.

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READ MORE: Pilot reports of drone sightings more than double this year and the year’s not over

“As a pilot, I can tell you the most critical part of our operation is our take off and landing phase, which happens at the airport,” pilot Dylan Thomas said. “The thought of being distracted by a drone, or in the worst case a collision with a drone, is actually a bit frightening and terrifying.”

Yesterday, the U.S Federal Aviation Administration announced new regulations that state virtually every drone weighing more than 250 grams must be registered. Even existing model aircraft flying clubs have to register. These are changes that are likely coming north of the border although Transport Canada hasn’t worked out the details yet.

READ MORE: Regulation, legality and safety of drones

“We don’t have a specific drone licence in place right now. But the protocols for that and what that might look like, we’re probably going to see…next year. Transport Canada are due to come out with some additional changes, so we’re hoping to see that, I believe, June of next year,” said Declan Sweeney of Unmanned Systems Canada.

Meanwhile drone manufacturers are being more proactive. Some of the more advanced models have built-in GPS waypoints that prevent the drone from flying at major airports worldwide.

Some sellers are trying to educate buyers.

READ MORE: Drones increasingly buzzing too close to Canadian airports

“We have a waiver of liability where we explain to the customer that basically everything that happens with their drone once they purchase it is their responsibility,” said Ronald Mezza, manager of the Drones Plus store in Vancouver.

One thing is certain—drones are not going away so everyone’s going to have to learn to get along.

-With files from Ted Chernecki

© 2015 Shaw Media

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