An aircraft attempting to land at Buttonville, an airport with proximity to Toronto’s suburbs, sustained “major damage” after being hit by a York Regional Police (YRP) drone earlier this month. Strangely enough, the country’s air navigation service provider, NAV Canada, was not even informed of the police drone operation.
The unfortunate incident, which took place on August 10, comes to light via a Transport Canada report issued this week. According to the report, a Cessna aircraft belonging to Canadian Flyers International was about to land at the airport’s runway when the pilot felt a jolt that “pushed them back on their seat.”
The pilot thought the plane must have hit a large bird and proceeded to land. There was no change in configuration or power since they were about 500 feet above ground level and landing was imminent. The report reads:
When exiting the aircraft, they were shocked to see a major dent on the left underside of the engine cowling. The airbox was also bent. A few hours later, a police detective confirmed a York Regional Police drone had struck their aircraft. The aircraft suffered major damage, including a propeller strike.
The report doesn’t detail what the drone was doing in Class E airspace or why NAV Canada wasn’t advised of its operations. YRP, which has been operating drones since 2015, is yet to acknowledge the incident publicly.
Police drone striking plane causes social media uproar in Canada
As the news broke, many drone operators were quick to point out had this alleged act of negligence been caused by a civilian pilot, the police would have cited them by now.
“Interesting to see how Transport Canada handles this. This would be a major issue for a normal person and since we’re talking federal vs municipal cops, there may actually be some sort of punishment handed out,” observed a Reddit user, with another user noting:
The drone operation was literally on the approach/departure end of a runway… this is as stupid high risk as it gets. Also, they should have known better, they fly a helicopter themselves.
We know a lot of people would be following this story with interest, and that includes us. Stay tuned for updates!
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