A 25-year-old Calgary man is facing charges in connection to an drone incident near the Calgary International Airport on the weekend.

Police saw a man flying a drone in a public park near the 2600 block of 16 St. N.E. at about 6:45 p.m. Sunday and say that the UAV was seen flying under the flight path of an airport runway.

The man was arrested during a traffic stop as he tried to drive away from the area.

 “The operation of UAVs has to be done safely and once you start flying under the flight path for Calgary International Airport, you can start interfering with planes and that’s going to cause a major incident,” said Sergeant Colin Foster with the Calgary Police Service’s Collision Reconstruction Unit.

Syed Gohar Haider Shah, 25, of Calgary, is charged with one count of interfering with a navigation facility to endanger the safety of aircraft.

Shah is expected to appear in court on Thursday, January 28 on the charge.

This is the first time charges of this kind have been laid in Calgary.

“This is the first charge in Calgary, I am aware that there have been charges in Ontario, in Vancouver, now whether or not those are against the criminal code or local legislation, I don’t know, but certainly in this instance, this is the first time in Calgary that we have charged anybody under the criminal code for operating a UAV.,” said Foster.

Police say drones can endanger lives, aircraft and property if they are flown in an unsafe manner and that it’s the pilot’s responsibility to know about any restrictions on flying them.

“It’s an offence to fly within five nautical miles of Calgary airport, which is approximately nine kilometres. To give you an idea for Calgary, that’s roughly 50 Avenue south. So anybody operating a UAV north of 50 Avenue south potentially could be committing an offence for which they could be arrested,” said Sergeant Foster.

Anyone who sees a drone being flown in an unsafe manner is encouraged to contact the Calgary Police Service by calling 911 for a crime in progress, the non-emergency line at 403-266-1234, or Crime Stoppers using any of the following methods:

TALK: 1-800-222-8477
TYPE: www.calgarycrimestoppers.org
TEXT: tttTIPS to 274637

For more information on drone regulations and best practices, visit the Transport Canada website HERE.