Know Your Airspace

One of the key elements for UAV operators is knowing the airspace they are operating within.  While things within uncontrolled Class G airspace are relatively straight forward, once you start operating within Controlled Airspace there are additional requirements and precautions that must be taken to ensure safe operations near other full sized aircraft.

To fly within Canadian Controlled Airspace you will need an SFOC that permits operations in those zones.  Often times these may have tighter restrictions than in uncontrolled zones.  It is the responsibility of the operator to check and know what type of airspace they are planning to work in and take the appropriate actions.  Generally operating within controlled airspace involves contacting the local ATC and having a NOTAM issued for your operations.

shearwaterIn Halifax NS for example, one of the main areas we operate in, almost all of the downtown area of the waterfront on both the Dartmouth and Halifax sides falls within the airspace controlled by CFB Shearwater. The Shearwater Control Zone is class D, 5 NM in radius, and is capped at 3,500 feet ASL. As such they must be informed of all UAV operations typically 24 hours in advance and issue NOTAMs for these activities.

The previous article we posted UAV Flight Planning & NOTAM Resources is a great place to start for tools and resources for flight planning.

As with all elements of UAV operations there are many things to learn and understand, workings within different airspace and knowing the proper procedures for each type is a critical piece of the puzzle.

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