The Network of Drone Enthusiasts, or NODE, has launched a campaign in Canada aimed at lobbying the country’s federal government for more measured drone laws. The move was announced today on the NODE site.
“The Canadian government is considering making changes to Transport Canada’s recent Interim Order on drone use,” reads the home page under the Campaigns section. “So now is the time for Drone Enthusiasts like you to act!”
As TDC reported at the time, Canada recently tightened its drone laws considerably. It happened in March, and the proposed regulations (called an “Interim Order”) make it virtually impossible to fly a drone within most city limits. Under the interim rules, a recreational pilot cannot fly within 75 metres of other people, animals, vehicles or buildings. In other words, if you’re flying in a park and a dog (or cat) or person comes within 75 metres of any drone weighing more than 250 grams, you’d be breaking the rules.
And the cost of breaking those rules? A fine of up to $3,000 CAD. What’s more, citizens are encouraged to call the police.
“I am taking measures now, before a drone hits an airplane and causes a catastrophic accident,” said Transport Canada Minister (and former astronaut) Marc Garneau at the time. “That’s the kind of nightmare scenario that keeps me up at night.”
Using social media, many in the drone community pointed out there has not been a single documented collision between a drone and a civilian aircraft. It was also noted there are other activities (such as being outdoors during an electrical storm) that are statistically far more likely to cause harm than being struck by a drone.
But because there wasn’t a single cohesive voice representing the voice of non-professional Canadian drone pilots at the time, the announcement of the new rules went largely unanswered by the recreational drone community – at least in any formal way.
Enter NODE – a DJI-backed network that helps drone enthusiasts organize themselves and provides tools to assist them in lobbying effectively. About a week after the Canadian regulations were announced, the relatively new organization (which prior to then had been solely for US drone users) embraced Canadian pilots as well, encouraging them to sign up.
“Dear Canadian Drone Enthusiasts,” it reads.
“The Network of Drone Enthusiasts has learned that the federal government is considering making changes to Transport Canada’s recent Interim Order on drone use. As many of us know, this hastily issued order does little to promote safety, and improperly restricts your ability to fly safely and responsibly.
“Its nine kilometre exclusion zone around airports and ban on flying near buildings, vehicles, animals and people have made it nearly impossible for responsible drone pilots like yourself to fly your drones anywhere.
“Now is the time to for Drone Enthusiasts like you to act!”
On the right-hand side of the page is the following form, making it easy to be heard.
NODE goes on with a few bullet points, encouraging people to be polite in their submissions, be clear that you’re making the contact due to the Interim Order on Drones, and state that you’d like the Order modified to be more reasonable.
TDC applauds this effort, and encourages any Canadian recreational flyers (and also those who fly drones professionally via Special Flight Operations Certificates), to make their views be known.
This is important.