Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems

After being pulled for a brief period, the Transport Canada “TP 15263 – Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems (UAV) 25 kg or Less, Operating within Visual Line of Sight”, is now on the Transport Canada website:

The Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council (CARAC) Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) System Program Design Working Group has made recommendations for amendments to existing regulations and standards, and introduced new regulations and standards for the safe integration of small UAV operations within visual line-of-sight (VLOS) under visual flight rules (VFR) in Canadian airspace.

The key principles for UAV related regulatory changes were approved by the CARAC Technical Committee in June 2012 and then by the Transport Canada Canadian Aviation Regulatory Committee (CARC) in October 2012. They are now being adopted as Best Practice Footnote1 guidance for Transport Canada Inspectors and applicants for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) – Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems.

These Best Practices are comprised of three areas: pilot, UAV system design standard, and operator requirements. SFOC applicants demonstrating compliance with all three areas may be eligible for SFOCs of greater scope and/or duration; they may also benefit from more-timely approval of SFOC applications.

This document is provided for the guidance of organizations or individuals intending to provide ground school instruction to pilots seeking compliance with the Best Practices for pilots of small UAV systems. These training organizations will be expected to provide Transport Canada with a written declaration attesting to the compliance of their courseware and testing. Thereafter, SFOC applicants with pilots who have successfully completed such a compliant course will be able to reference that course and ground school provider in their SFOC application as proof of pilot knowledge.

Regulations and Standards for the issue of a Pilot Permit – Small UAV Systems – Restricted to Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) will be specified in future Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). Until that time, complying with the proposed regulations will indicate that the pilot meets the recommended Best Practices expected in the approval process for an SFOC.

This outlines the requirements for the proposed new regulations that will be coming into effect sometime in the future, and will replace/extend the current SFOC process.


  1. Further to the article above… “The first phase of the campaign, unveiled today, provides the public with new safety guidelines and an easy‑to‑follow infographic that clarifies when to apply for Transport Canada permission to fly their UAV. This winter, the second phase of the campaign will include search engine and social media advertising, awareness videos and a simpler process to apply for permission to fly. Transport Canada has also launched, which provides Canadians with the information and advice they need to fly their UAV safely and legally.”


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