Yet another update today from Nav Canada on UAV notification procedures for flights in controlled airspace:
The reason I am sending this to you is that at one time in the past you or your company has contacted us in NAV CANADA in regards to UAV operations within the Moncton Flight Information Region (FIR). For those not familiar with the term FIR, our area of responsibility covers all of the Maritime Provinces (NS, NB, and PE).
As part of the Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC) that was issued to you by Transport Canada (TC) any of your flights that operate within controlled airspace need to be coordinated with the Air Navigation Service Provider (ANSP) who is providing an Air Traffic Service (ATS) in that airspace – which is us at NAV CANADA. In most cases this would be a control tower or a flight service station. Along with these two areas of concern, operators such as yourselves need to be wary of operations next to uncontrolled aerodromes and known landing areas (eg/ heliports at hospitals).
In the past there has not been any set requirements or procedures you need to follow in these areas. At times direct contact with a tower/airfield owner was made, for others there was a call to the Halifax Flight Information Centre (FIC) to file a Notice to airmen (NOTAM), and I hazard to guess that in some instances where some operators not knowing what to do… simply did their operation with no notification and by sheer luck nothing happened.
After talking with TC recently, in anticipation of a national standard, we have agreed on the following procedure for SFOC based UAV operations in controlled airspace within the Moncton FIR:
- Once a SFOC has been issued by TC, information will be provided on a central office of primary interest (OPI) for ATS – that would be me. I can be contacted by any of the means below. If I am not available callers can contact our Shift Manager (number will be on the phone message).
- I can provide airspace information to assist operators who may not be sure of the implications of their operations – if you are not sure if the airspace is controlled or not contact me and I will let you know.
- Once it has been determined that a flight will be in controlled airspace I will need to know the following information (via email):
- Contact name and phone number, if different than what will be place for the flight indicate what that will be.
- Date of flight
- Location of flight (latitude and longitude in whole degrees, minutes, and seconds – no decimals), a map indicating the position of the flight in reference to the closest aerodrome would be appreciated – Google Earth works great for this. This includes the area that will be covered, not just the centre point.
- Time/duration of the flight, if there is a break of more than an hour between flights I would need the different blocks.
- Maximum height of the flight(s), if there is a significant difference between flights (eg/ most at 50ft and one at 200ft) indicate the variance.
- A brief description of the UAV (large, small, amount of rotors, colour, etc) – this does not have to be too specific, this is what would be passed to a pilot (most probably do not know what a Phantom 3 looks like).
- An indication of the safety precautions you will have in place (eg/ spotter, VHF radio to monitor aircraft traffic, etc).
- This will all need to be provided AT LEAST 24 hours in advance of the flight (the earlier the better) between 8am and 4pm, Monday to Friday (except holidays). Any notification outside these parameters will not be reviewed and as such any flights that take place will be in contravention of the SFOC.
- Once the information is received I will contact the agency responsible for the provision of ATS and determine what is required from their standpoint. Based on the operation it may be deemed nonconsequential to their traffic and as long as normal precautions are followed the flight can proceed without further coordination, for others a call to the tower before and after the flight on the phone, for a small number if the operation is deemed to have a greater possibility to conflict with other traffic a NOTAM may need to be issued, or it may be deemed that for the time and position of the flight it cannot be granted. In this last case further coordination will be needed to see if an alternate time can be found.
- If a NOTAM needs to be issued, this MUST be done by TC. The practice of having operators request their own NOTAMs will no longer be possible. In this case I will contact the operator and advise them to call TC and request a NOTAM. This is another reason why at least 24 hour notification is required.
- A register will be kept of all requests for statistical purposes.
Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns with this process. Besides emphasizing safety and coordination it is hoped that by having a central OPI for airspace questions it will be easier on you the operators so that you do not have to guess on what to do.
If you are aware of any operator who may not be aware of this procedure please pass this on or advise me and I will try to get in touch with them.
Unit Procedures Specialist
Moncton Area Control Centre
222 Old Coach Road
Riverview, NB, E1B 4G2
(506) 867-7134 (work)
(506) 378-0517 (cell)
(506) 867 7170 – fax