Airspace around University District restricted during St. Patrick’s Day weekend

The area of restricted airspace, where drones or any other aircraft are not to be operated from Friday, Mar. 17 to Sunday, Mar. 19, 2023. Map via Kingston Police.

Kingston Police are advising of restricted airspace around Queen’s University and the University District for St. Patrick’s Day weekend 2023.

Authorization through Transport Canada to restrict the airspace in the area was obtained “to assist with public safety and security,” Kingston Police said in a media release on Friday, Mar. 17, 2023.

In place from 8 a.m. on Friday, Mar. 17 until 8 a.m. on Sunday, Mar. 19, 2023, the airspace restrictions mean that no aircraft are allowed within 0.5 nautical miles – or 926 metre – radius originating at the intersection of Aberdeen Street and Earl Street, according to police. This includes drones, regardless of weight or classification, also known as UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) or RPASs (remotely piloted aircraft systems). MedEvac (air patient transfer service), military aircraft, and Instrument Flight Rules (IFR) aircraft are exempt from the restrictions.

These measures are on top of those measures already in place police, bylaw enforcement, the City of Kingston, and the Queen’s University Student Code of Conduct.

“In past years and events, drones have been observed flying in contravention of Transport Canada safety rules, endangering pedestrians, interfering with vehicular traffic, and compromising the operations of police and other emergency responders. The community can expect to observe police-operated drones in the University District during these days for public and officer safety purposes,” Kingston Police said in a statement.

The NOTAM (Notice to Airmen/Air Missions) in place for Kingston airspace during St. Patrick’s Day weekend 2023. Graphic via Kingston Police.

According to police, anyone found to be in contravention of Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) can face fines up to $1,000 under the Aeronautics Act. If drones or other prohibited aircraft are found to have violated Criminal Code offences, such as mischief (interfering with the lawful enjoyment of property), criminal harassment, or obstructing the police, the owner or operator of that aircraft can expect to have it seized for evidence purposes, police said.

To find out more about normal flight operations when such unique flight restrictions are not in place, visit Transport Canada’s website on how to safely fly a drone.

Tips on drone operation safety from Transport Canada. Graphic via Kingston Police.

One thought on “Airspace around University District restricted during St. Patrick’s Day weekend

  • The problems associated with Homecoming and with St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the University District are at the ground level, not in the airspace above it. This is nothing more than a publicity stunt to distract people from the lack of police enforcement of nuisance party and noise bylaws as well as the violation of alcohol and marijuana laws, (in public areas).

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