marketing/tourism

Drones and Wildfires Don't Mix

See smoke? Stay away!

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We have seen an eruption of drones or “remotely piloted aircraft systems” into the sky over the past four years, as improved functionality and the decreased cost of drones have allowed more people access to the technology.  For only a few hundred dollars, photography buffs have been able to capture amazing aerial perspectives with drones, but there are limits to when and where you can fly.

Drones Are Game Changers

Whether you are using drones to help with fighting wild fires, managing inventory at mine sites, or searching for fugitives, having an aerial perspective is a game changer.

“More drones are flying, so there’s more probability that incidents could be reported.”

But as a recent article by CBC indicates, as the number of drones in Canadian skies increases, so do the number of ‘incidents’ between crewed aircraft.  Ryan Coates, the manager of Transport Canada’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Task Force, indicated in the article that “more drones are flying, so there’s more probability that incidents could be reported.“  This presents a great risk to crews that are dealing with the ever increasing number of wildfires in British Columbia and the Territories.

In another article, CBC reported that 2019 has been an unprecedented year for wildfires, with over 100 fires burning in the Arctic as of August.   Whitehorse has had a couple close calls throughout this Summer, with smaller fires breaking out on nearby Grey Mountain, the ominous plumes of smoke clearly visible in the city. 

Give them space!

It is important to know that any time there is an emergency scene, such as a wildfire, planes and heli’s are flying all over the place to fight the fires, so it is important to give them space, and not to put them or anyone else at risk by flying a drone in their airspace.

Drone Training in Whitehorse, Yukon

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M3 Aerial will be running a Transport Canada-compliant drone training course in Whitehorse this September 21-22nd to ensure that those individuals, companies and organizations who have adopted drone technology are equipped with the knowledge required by Transport Canada to operate safely and responsibly.

Many of the graduates of the M3 program are university professors and students who are using these tools for research.  Other attendees include photography enthusiasts, engineering and survey companies, environmental, real estate, insurance, marketing/tourism, film/cinema, as well as police, fire and paramedics who are using drones. The list goes on and on!

People are slowly beginning to realize that the threat posed to aviation by drones is real, and therefore in order for people to operate RPAS safely and responsibly training is extremely important. Every drone pilot absolutely, without question, must know when and where you are able to fly, to ensure the skies are safe.

New Drone Regulations in Canada

The new Canadian RPAS regulations released on June 1st clearly outline the requirements for anybody operating drones weighing 250g or more. Everyone who use drones of any weight should at least familiarize themselves with the new rules before they take to the air so they understand when they will need to get certified. 

Check out our blog post with everything you need to know about the new regulations!

As for the firefighters, they’re also using drones to help them find hot spots, spread fire retardant, or just scope out the extent of the fire from a safe distance.  The difference between the ground crews fighting the blaze and the public flying around wildfires, is that the flights are done in close coordination with the air crews to avoid dangerous incidents.  It is the new reality of drones that the entire aviation community is now facing, and it’s here to stay.

Do you think drones are making our lives safer, or less safe?