“Everyone Likes Drones”

This is something we hear daily when we get talking with people about what we do for a living. We definitely won’t argue with the fact that drones are making a huge impact on society on many levels. The other day I saw a story on the news about two young men whose lives were saved by a drone that was able to fly out over the ocean, spot them in turbulent waters, and accurately release a lifesaving device that inflated as it hit the water. There is no doubt that the applications for drones are endless and that they are “pretty cool”. However, the notion that “everyone likes drones” is not so true.

With great power comes great responsibility, said Uncle Ben. Like Spiderman, drone operators must strive to act in a way that is compliant with regulations and respectful to citizens. As much as we love seeing drones on the news and in the papers, we absolutely cringe when we see articles about drones being flown into planes, drones crashing into buildings and cars, and people flying into their neighbours’ backyards to get a peek.

This can be very discouraging for a drone business that is fully transparent and hardworking. It’s not just Dronemates that is jumping through all the hoops, there are many drone businesses trying to get off the ground in a way that keeps everyone happy. What we have discovered though, is that there are far more hobbyists in the industry than there are professionals and that many of them blatantly ignore the rules.

Don’t get us wrong, it can be a tiresome and often confusing process to apply for flights in Canada. After drafting up a 30-page document outlining every element of the flight, drone, operators, location, airports etc., you just want to get out into the field and away from the desk. However, you often need to contact multiple people and navigate communications between multiple parties including property owners to make that happen. And you can’t actually fly until given explicit consent from the government, who often requests revisions to the documents and has an application-processing time of over a month.

This may sound excessive, but everyone is finding ways to deal with the overwhelming expansion of this new industry, including the government. There are many countries where flying a drone is completely illegal so at least the Canadian Government is on our side enough to let us fly. And there is always some legwork to be done by the dedicated people who want to stick around. The paperwork really isn’t that bad once you get used to doing it after 5-6 times (we know this sounds like we’re lying but seriously it’s worth it), especially when fines for flying without a permit are upward of $25,000 for businesses and $3,000 for individuals.

There may be a lot of stories circulating about how much people hate drones and the disturbing things people are using them for, but ultimately they are an amazing tool when used properly. We really hope that enforcement improves and that people who don’t take the safety of others seriously are weaned out. Because drones are the future, and everyone should like drones.

If you want to learn more about Transport Canada regulations, visit their website: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/flying-drone-safely-legally.html

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