Welcome to PhantomPilots.com

Sign up for a weekly email of the latest drone news & information

Canada UAV pilot fined $1000 by Transport Canada

Discussion in 'News' started by Khudson7, Dec 29, 2014.

  1. Forts

    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2014
    Messages:
    63
    Likes Received:
    3
    Re: Canada UAV pilot fined $1000...

    I was just going to post this same link! There has to be more to this story. It says he received the fine from Transport Canada... But who actually issued the offence? How did they know who was flying and put him at the controls? The story has zero detail about how this all came together. What was the actual infraction? (I'm assuming using the Phantom for profit without filing for a permit)... But again, how did he get caught?
     
  2. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    Re: Canada UAV pilot fined $1000...

    Yes, the news is very poor on details.

    From what I can determine from other searches, this guy is co-owner of aerial filming company here in Quebec called Vuduciel.ca

    The incident was filmed back in June of a property for a Real Estate agent and the guy put the name of his company watermarked on the YouTube video. Hence, It was fairly easy for Transpirt Canada to track him down. It happened before the more recent exception by Transport Canada, and there is some question if even this recent exemption covers this.

    The news makes it sound like an individual just got a Xmas present and suddenly got fined.
     
  3. Jebus

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2013
    Messages:
    296
    Likes Received:
    0
    Re: Canada UAV pilot fined $1000...

    I've been wondering if the recent changes allow for real estate video - as I believe I had read that you're still not supposed to fly over populated areas...
     
  4. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    Re: Canada UAV pilot fined $1000...

    As usual, the exemption is VERY vague in a number of areas.

    For instance, one rule to meet the exemption is:
    must keep at least 5 nautical miles away from the centre of any airport/helipad, or a built-up area

    Their definition of a built up area is:
    Built-up Area – As it relates the the Transport Canada UAV SFOC process, are considered areas with groups of buildings or dwellings including anything from small hamlets to major cities. Anything larger than a farmstead should be considered a built up area.

    As defined in Advisory Circular (AC) No. 600-004


    So that seems to say no residential or of course, towns or cities, only farm buildings or other un controlled air space. It appears they may be trying now, to make a case of this guy(like the Pirker case in the U.S.) This is very disturbing to me and I hope he fights it.

    It however, is enough of a fine to hurt, but when emotions/anger fades, it probably is not enough to have to spend time in courts or involve the expense of lawyers. I am sure TC figured that in. Also it was mentioned that TC seems to be playing a game with him. The summons mailed to him says it has to be paid by Dec 15, but was not mailed to him until Dec 18, which he says, makes it further difficult for him to fight.
     
  5. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    Actually, I did just come across a reply that was made by what appears to be someone from that company involved in the fine. This was his answer in more detail as to what happened to him

    Jeff
    December 28, 2014 at 12:43 pm
    One very important thing to note is that what was said to the reporter is « Even if I wanted to, I couldn’t KILL anyone with it » while it was discussed that our drone seemed to be considered even more dangerous than a manned helicopter or plane even though, to our knowledge, a death was never heard of in the multirotor community. It is a very sad detail that was overlooked and we cannot do anything about it since the article was released to the public as is, but I can reassure you that we are no « kids with toys » and are very aware of the risks involved. We take extra steps to ensure the safety of everybody: we wear safety vests and hard hats, we block off areas, we have a fire extinguisher and a first aid kit on hand, we are always on the lookout for air traffic even though we barely ever go over 150ft, and more importantly, you’d probably be surprised by the amount of non-sense projects we refused to take part in, like the Igloofest and the Lolë events that took place in the Old Port of Montreal, to name a few.

    There is a lot more to this story than what meets the eye, but try and explain what has happened in the course of a 1-year-and-a-half debate of technical issues and bureaucratic non-sense to an unknowledgeable reporter that has to condense everything in a one-page article that is intended for the general public? Some details to note are the facts that both the operating of the drone and the shooting of the images were NOT charged to the client, but more importantly the fact that Mr Gramigna was not operating the drone, has never piloted a drone before and has no plan of doing so. He is a DOP, a camera operator and just barely a passenger while he holds a monitor and controls the tilt of the camera.

    As you may have noticed from this blog post, the Quebec region seems more reluctant to let drone businesses take flight. When we bought our first drone in july 2013, I gave multiple calls to Transports Canada’s office in Montreal to get more details on regulations and how-to’s. I was refered to Omer Lemaire, the « big guy » for drones. Obviously, I got transfered to his voicemail. In the course of the following months, I left MULTIPLE messages and emails to Mr Lemaire. Believe it or not, I got a call back in late February 2014. Mr Lemaire was very unfriendly, addressed my questions like a suicidal robot, made it clear that I was bothering him as he was preparing the SFOC for things that were worth his time like « the hot air balloon festival of Gatineau ». He also told me that the actual delays for obtaining a SFOC were of 6 months+, and that nothing would be issued for a built up area. When I asked him the definition of a built up area, he referred to it being anything from a metropolis to a shed in a field in the great white north. I just couldn’t believe what I was hearing, so I asked him « So if someone calls me to take a picture of his house at 20ft, I have to tell him that I may be able to do it in 6 months!? ». His loud and clear answer was « Yup. But only if that person doesn’t have any neighor in a 5-mile radius, otherwise your SFOC will be denied, that’s how it is with commercial UAV operations. » I asked him what was a commercial UAV operation, to which he simply said « If you charge for it, it’s commercial. Now if you excuse me, I am very busy and have other things to do, so I hope you got your answers. »

    Faced with the facts that running a viable drone business while conforming to all Transports Canada is just plain and simply impossible, we haven’t charge once for flying our multirotor. We have sold sideline products like video editing and photo retouching as Transports Canada has no juridiction over that, right? Seems we were badly misinformed, because investigation notices started coming in our mailbox in July 2014. 7 of them, in total (to date, that is). When we talked with the investigator, Mr Yves Thibodeau, we were struct with a law representative that was, to our logic, on a powertrip. He was very friendly as he explained to us that uploading an aerial video to YouTube constitutes a commercial operation in itself since you can monetize your views. Even a LIKE on a picture posted on Facebook could technically constitute a form of gratification, which is a form of revenue. When we told him that we never charged anybody for this, he went as far as explaining that a video editor that has never piloted a drone but that uses aerial footage in a project falls under their regulations and would have to prove that the footage he used was made in a flight that was authorized with a SFOC. Ok… Wait, what!?!?

    So we waited while we tried to put our mind together. The fine finally came in on the 23rd of December 2014. The fine was dated on the 12th of November 2014 with a due date or appeal request by the 15th of December 2014. The stamp on the letter shows it was mailed on the 19th of December 2014. Thanks?

    That fine was for one video we made for a RE/MAX Real Estate agent. Sure enough, we had permission of the owner to be over his property. Here’s the actual video: http://vimeo.com/105731255

    We also have a recording dating back in July 2014 of Remy Désert, a SFOC reviewer/inspector that since quit his job, saying the delays were around 3 months, but just couldn’t guarantee anything. « Could be longer. That’s how it is, Sir! »

    I’ll stop here for now, as a lot of hate from the general public is thrown at us with a lot of strong accusions like being terrorists or trying to spy on people. We are artists, and we see a drone as a very creative tool in our toolbox. All we wanted is people like us, honest people trying to make a living, to know that TC is now actively issuing fines.

    If you have any questions, feel free to ask, and please excuse my english, I’m a french Canadian trying to do my best. Thank you.


    THIS is REALLY scary but more in line with my experiences in dealing with a government agency here!!!! Give a few low level managers a little authority, and it is amazing the extent as to where they will go to abuse that power. This is CASE IN POINT!

    P.S. Their video above is VERY PROFESSIONALLY done and I think, VERY impressive.
     
  6. CarlJ

    Joined:
    Feb 24, 2014
    Messages:
    782
    Likes Received:
    19
    Location:
    Peru, Indiana
    Man, I'd hate to see the flight that required a fire extinguisher! :eek:
     
  7. macheung

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2013
    Messages:
    246
    Likes Received:
    4
    I am a Canadian as well and his experience is plain disturbing.
    We need to establish an entity to fight these sort of things, much like the EFF but for aerial hobbies. What is the point of these exceptions if it doesn't apply in built up areas? Everywhere is a built up area according to those definitions.
     
  8. SteveMann

    Joined:
    Aug 27, 2014
    Messages:
    1,977
    Likes Received:
    652
    Location:
    Westford, MA
    It's interesting that the ReMax logo at the end may be what convinced TC that it was a commercial flight. I would like to see them try to prove who was flying.
    The FAA, and apparently TC considers any flight that is used for commercial purposes, even tangentially, as a commercial flight. You can fly for free and charge for editing - the FAA considers this commercial. No money has to change hands. You can fly for free, put the videos into the Public Domain for free, but as soon as someone puts the video or images into commercial purpose, like linking a YouTube video to their real estate site, it's a commercial flight.
    As I said, how do they prove who was flying?
     
  9. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    From what I gathered from above...they got the WRONG guy! The fine apparently was sent to and lists this guy Julien Gramigna as the defendant. He is a co-owner of the company, but, according to their rant above, Julien has NEVER piloted a UAV. The most he had done, was operate the camera from a separate controller.

    This makes me very very sad. They said they are artists, trying to make a living, and their video proves(to me) they are very good at what they do.

    With all the news reporting how progressive Canada was, back when this exemption was put into effect, especially over the U.S. and other countries in their UAV policies now...this has highlighted to me, the details that make their so called progress, moot. The devil is in the details!!

    Having said that, though...this company did take a chance. The same chance that so many others are doing all over...and they got caught at it. This is our Pirker case here...in Canada(although their video was more professionally done IMHO). Unfortunately, a $1000 fine is very hurtful, but when emotions fade, one will probably realize that better to pay it and move on, rather than spending the next couple years fighting it through the courts with all the legal fees that involves. We shall see where this goes...
     
  10. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,714
    Likes Received:
    3,435
    That's outrageous that they won't allow commercial operation within 5 nautical miles away from a "built-up area".
    Because we all know how anyone within 5 miles is so at risk once you get these things in the air.
    How can they justify that? Obviously they can't.
    You Canadians have to get your parliament to correct this craziness.
     
  11. Khudson7

    Khudson7 Guest

    Sure wish it were that simple...like saying "those Americans have to get your FAA or Congress to correct this craziness". Same scenario here. The irresponsible and sensational news here, just like everywhere else, demonizes this hobby. For all of us that enjoy and want to support these efforts...there are many more here, that read these news reports verbatim, and believe the horrors the news proclaims that UAV's possess. Like elsewhere, it is an uphill struggle, here too.
     
  12. Meta4

    Meta4 Moderator
    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2014
    Messages:
    7,714
    Likes Received:
    3,435
    Yeah .. I know it isn't simple but if you let them get away with that, you can only expect more in the same vein.