TC RPAS Task Force Regulatory Update on Proposed Canadian Regulations – Oct 30 2018

During the USC Conference recently held in Vancouver (Oct 30 2018), Transport Canada provided an update on the proposed changes to Canadian legislation governing UAV/drones, which are now officially called Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

No solid date was given on when we will see the final version but they are targeting before end of 2018.

Roll-out will be done over a 6 month period once the regulations are published in Canada Gazette Part II.

The following is a summary of proposed regulations:

  • Single weight class from 250g-25kg for VLOS operations
  • Single set of regulations for recreational and commercial use
  • Operations fall into two types of operations: Basic, Advanced

Basic:

  • Class G Airspace Only
  • 1nm from heliports, 3nm from airports
  • No aircraft design standard requirement
  • Aircraft must be registered and marked with #
  • Basic online test for license
  • 14 or older unless supervised
  • No speed restrictions
  • Operations within built-up areas permitted
  • No operations over people, 30M distance
  • Max altitude 400′
  • Night operations permitted
  • Not specific distance from pilot but must be VLOS
  • No liability insurance required

Advanced:

  • Class G, C-F Airspace
  • Operations near aerodromes with ATC approval
  • Manufacturers declare RPAS safety assurance
  • Aircraft must be registered and marked with #
  • Comprehensive online test and in person flight review for license
  • 16 or older unless supervised
  • No speed restrictions
  • Operations within built-up areas permitted
  • Operations over people if assurance allows, 0-30M from people.
  • Max altitude 400′
  • Night operations permitted
  • Not specific distance from pilot but must be VLOS
  • No liability insurance required

Details on manufacture assurance process are TBA.

Slides courtesy of Calvin Reich via UAV Task Force at the Unmanned Systems Conference

PNR SFOCs – Checklists are Back

After a period of all regions being fairly consistent on the use of the National SFOC Application Form across the country, PNR has reintroduced a new checklist form that is now mandatory as part of the application process.

The following was received from one of our clients on Oct 19 2018 as part of a recent Standing SFOC renewal application.

We are experiencing a backlog in our processing at the moment and our processing times are higher than usual.

In order to help speed up the review process we ask you to complete this checklist.  This will help with the amount of time it takes to find all of the important information within your SFOC application form.

Your application for issuance of an SFOC for the operation of a UAV is currently in the queue and will be assigned to a Civil Aviation Inspector for review as soon as resources allow.  Please find attached a checklist of required information that the Inspectors will be looking for in order to approve your application.  In order to expedite the application process, you need to complete the checklist prior to the file being considered complete for assignment to an Inspector.  The instructions are clearly laid out at the top of the page.  You MUST respond to every item on the checklist.  Where the answer checked is YES, provide the document name and page number where the information required can be found.  Where the answer checked is NO or N/A, provide a comment explaining why your application does not include the information. Note that each item contains a reference where further information/elaboration can be found.  Additionally, there is a short section of guidance material at the bottom of the document which should clarify some of the more common issues/questions.

Please send this completed checklist to PNRSpecialFlightOps@tc.gc.ca and upon receipt, your application will be assigned to the next available Inspector.  If you have any questions or require clarification, email PNRSpecialFlightOps@tc.gc.ca and we will respond as soon as possible.

Form can be found here:
RDIMS-#14505380-v1-RDIMS-#14495773-V1-CHECKLIST_FOR_UAV_SFOC_REQUEST_EXT…

Executive Summary: Consultation Session on RPAS Regulations

Executive Summary: Consultation Session on Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Regulations

On May 23th 2018, Transport Canada Civil Aviation (TCCA)’s Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Task Force (formerly known as UAS Task Force) hosted a consultation session with targeted stakeholders to discuss the comments received following the pre-publication of the regulations in Canada Gazette Part I (July 2017), and to share the Department’s recommended changes for Canada Gazette Part II.

This document is the Transport Canada Summary on RPAS regulations and feedback discussed in the session.

Executive Summary – Consultation Session on RPAS Regulations

Air Transportation Safety Investigation Report A17Q016

The TSB – Transportation Safety Board of Canada has released their report on the suspected drone/aircraft collision over Quebec in October 2017:

http://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/aviation/2017/a17q0162/a17q0162.asp

Noted items:

The damage was limited to a dent at the point of impact on the left wing de-icing boot, as well as scratches on the upper surface of the left wing. The damage was minor and had no effect on the airworthiness of the aircraft. The aircraft was returned to service the same day.

The investigation was unable to identify the operator of the drone involved in the collision with the Sky Jet M.G. Inc. aircraft. No debris from the drone could be found, and it could not be determined with certainty whether it was used for recreational or non-recreational purposes.

The CYQB control tower had not been informed of any UAV activity in the Class C control zone under its jurisdiction, no SFOC had been issued, and no Notices to Airmen had reported any such activity on 12 October 2017. The presence of a drone within controlled airspace had not been detected by the radar in the CYQB control tower. Because neither TC nor NAV CANADA was aware of this drone operation in the control zone, the investigation concluded that the regulations governing the operation of drones were not followed.

It is still unclear as to if this was a drone or misreporting of another object, given that no evidence was found to positively identify the drone or operator.  While we do not deny it may have been a drone, the evidence seems thin.

Shams, Scams, Flimflams, and Drones

When it comes to any industry there are always a few that will try and exploit the market by all means possible to make a quick $$$.  In new industries like with UAVs/drones, this can be even more pronounced as scammers look to profit from the general lack of knowledge.

We recently had an experience with this where a new “drone” company directly stole content from this very blog, word for word, to promote a competitive service of their own.  When confronted they accused us of copying them!  The fact that our content had been written over a year prior to theirs seemed lost in the logic of a flimflam artist. (If we owned a time machine I think we could make better use of it than stealing someone’s written word on drones, but I digress)  Further review of their website found images taken from other UAV firms as well, so at least we are not alone, and perhaps should be flattered to have been included in their “market research”??

This is not the first case of this nor will it be the last.  Many drone businesses have seen their work being copied and used without credit over the last number of years, some even being listed for resale.  Again, ethics and morals are lost on some, unfortunately.  Even those listing what appear to be high standing credentials and years of related experience can sometimes be less than honest, scammers exist at all levels, just remember Bernie Madoff.

We’ve also experienced losing jobs and clients to other “professional” SFOC holding UAV operators that were willing to work outside the regulations, offering clients services that legally cannot be done, which makes it hard to compete on a level playing field.  We and most others, however, choose to work with the system, although not perfect, is what we have, and putting the client and public at risk for a few dollars is not worth it long term for anyone.

The simple reality is there is a small percentage in any sector that have a moral compass that needs calibration.  Eventually, they either fall in line or move on to exploit another industry once exposed, but for a short time can do great damage to an industry and leave a bad taste in the mouths of customers.

End of the day the customer needs to do their homework when selecting a provider in any industry, and possibly more so in the UAV arena, where many companies are new and it is hard to spot the professionals from the quick buck crowd.  Perform due diligence, ask questions, check with others in the market, reach out to past customers if possible, see what they have posted and shared on social media to help develop a profile of what they are and how they work.  While the vast majority of providers are honest hard working people, there are the few lying in wait to pounce on unsuspecting prey.

The UAV industry is an exciting and fast-moving one, much like the gold rush of the old west, and with it come the snake oil salesmen and carpet baggers looking for their next victim.  Try not to be that person, on either side of the transaction.

UAV Operations – Atlantic Canada – Nav Canada Coordination Changes

Received from Nav Canada…
 
December, 2017
 
UAV Operator’s in Atlantic Canada,
Effective 11 December 2017, the responsibility for coordinating UAV operations with ATS (Air Traffic Service) facilities has been moved from the Moncton Area Control Centre (Peter Hebert) to the Halifax Flight Information Centre (FIC).
UAV coordination is very important to the safety of the flying public.
For your convenience and to expedite this process, a centralized contact point, to meet the needs of the UAV operator, has been established. The Halifax Flight Information Centre (FIC) is your new contact point for Atlantic Canada. Telephones/emails are answered 24hrs a day, every day.
Our experienced specialists will take your information, notify the appropriate ATS agencies and issue appropriate notices (NOTAMs) as necessary. NOTAMs (notices of aviation activity for pilots and ATS facilities) will now be required when UAV operations meet certain parameters. This requirement does not inhibit the UAV operator’s activity, but does inform the flying public of the activity.
All we require is the following information:
a. Contact name and phone number
b. Radius (nautical mile (NM) or FT) of flight.
c. Location of flight (latitude and longitude in whole degrees, minutes, and seconds)
d. Maximum height (FT) of the flight
e. Description of the UAV:
i. Type
ii. Wingspan
iii. Weight
iv. Colour
f. Date, time and duration of intended flight
 
The Halifax FIC Specialist will then provide the UAV operator with a coordination number as a reference for any further contact with the FIC regarding the activity.
Aviation safety is our first concern and this information ensures that the aviation community is aware of your activity.
Please email UAV_QM@navcanada.ca or call 902 873-3227.
Regards,
 
Terry Chase
Manager, Halifax FIC