Can You Fly A Drone in Regina?
· 6 min. read
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Without advanced permission from Nav Canada, you cannot fly a drone above Regina. If you choose to do so anyway, you open yourself up to a $1,000 fine for recreational users or a $5,000 fine for commercial users.
Additionally, if you fly an unregistered drone, you can be fined another $1,000, and if you don't have a licence to fly, you'll be fined an additional $1,000.
But before you rush out and take the $10 exam and register your drone for an additional $5 to prevent these fines, what if I told you there was another way?
According to Transport Canada, a "drone" is a small, remote-controlled aircraft between 250g and 25kg. A micro-drone, on the other hand, is anything smaller than 250g. This puts it under completely different legislation and thus not applicable to any of the fines.
I used to fly a DJI Spark, which although was very small, it was still considered a "drone" as it weighed 255g. This means I needed to take a course, get a licence, register it and I still could not fly it within Regina.
These days I fly a DJI Mini 2. It is 249g, which is only slightly less than ol' Sparky, but has a lot more legal flexibility. For example, I don't need to be licenced to fly it, I don't need to register it, and as long as I fly it safely within the city, I'm welcome to do that too.
Below are two maps of Regina's Wascana Lake area taken from the Government of Canada's "Drone Site Selection Tool". The first shows the map for drones bigger than or equal to 250g. The next shows the map for drones smaller than 250g. While the first map shows the entire area listed as "forbidden" to fly for regular drones, it is accessible to fly in for micro-drone.
The first image text reads: "Airport. Basic drone operations are not permitted within the 3 nautical mile zone indicated by the red circle.
Part of the selected shape overlaps with a Control Zone and a Certified Airport/Heliport. Basic RPAS operations are not permitted in those areas."
The second image reads "Exercise a high degree of caution due to potential aircraft traffic around airports/heliports. Drone operations when other aircraft are present and/or in the vicinity of airports/heliports are strongly discouraged, and may be considered negligent or reckless. Refer to "Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)" section for recommended best practices."
Granted, there are some height limitations near airports and helipads, and you can't fly within a certain distance of runways, but for the most part, the entire city is your aerial playground. If you're flying the drone downtown, you can even take it 400 feet (120 meters) into the sky ? which is higher than the McCallum Hill Towers!
Micro-drones offer more flexibility than large drones, but they aren't a complete substitute. They only weigh about as much as a soup can, or one and a half baseballs, or between 1.5 to 3 newborn kittens, so if there is a strong wind, the drone might get sent to Oz. They also have shorter battery life and honestly, the bigger drones look cooler than the small ones.
I should also mention that the micro-drone exception is specific to Regina. Some other cities have their own municipal bylaws that forbid it. For example, Saskatoon has Bylaw 5729 which states: "No person shall fly a remotely piloted aircraft in, on or above property owned by the city, or leased by the city, or under the jurisdiction and control of the city, except as permitted by the city."
Other places, such as national or provincial parks and military areas, have their own laws too.
As of April 2021, the city of Regina has minimal bylaws that restrict drone flying. The only bylaw that exists is Bylaw 2004-27 that states "11(1) No person in a park or open space area shall: (p) use any remote controlled airplane or vehicle;". This bylaw only applies to being in a park, but not about flying over the park. If you were on the street or on anything not deemed a "park or open space", you can still fly the drone. Beyond that, you can fly a micro-drone just about anywhere you want in Regina, as long as you do it safely.
Did you know you could fly a micro-drone in Regina? Would you ever want to try it out? Let me know in the comments below!
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Categories: Canada, Regina, Saskatchewan, Travel Tips