What are Complex Operations?

Since the release of the NPA for new proposed regulations back in May 2015 there seems to be ongoing confusion around the impact on the need for Compliant aircraft.  It is stated that UAVs must meet a design standard, basically equivalent to current Complaint systems, to operate in “complex operations”.

This often seems to get downplayed and implies that “complex” would be the rare edge cases and perhaps most operators would not fall into this type of work.  However this is not the case, in fact many current SFOC holding operators would no doubt have at least part of their  work deemed “complex”.

Complex Operations may entail the following, based on what has been stated as per the NPA:

  • Any flight in controlled airspace.
  • Any flight at night.
  • Any flight within a specified distance to an aerodrome (3-5NM).
  • Any flight within a specified distance of a built-up area (3-5NM).
  • Any flight over people.


So unless you are working in Class G airspace away from built-up areas, you will most likely fall into the complex category. For us at Flitelab, easily 70% of out work would fall under “complex”, making the need for compliant aircraft a major concern.

As of this article there are 8 Compliant UAVs, many of which are outside the price range of most small operators, and many do not meet the feature set required for many uses.

Based on the latest information from Transport Canada at the USC Conference just this week, the push is still on to require compliant systems.  This could basically render many systems in use now as useless unless manufacturers choose to work towards compliance which is an unknown at this stage.

We will not know the final impact until the new regulations are made public for review in early 2017, but all indications are that a major change is coming that could impact many operators.

One comment

  1. I attended both GANS GeoFutures and USC2016. Your information is correct. TC said it is up to the manufacturer to become compliant.

    Before I rant both events were top notch and UAC2016 was world class.

    On to my rant:

    TC says it’s up to us to contact the manufacturer and put pressure on them. Those DJI owners, who I talked to in Edmonton, have heard same that was told at GANS…Canada’s market share is too small and they will concentrate on the larger global market place.

    Yes this may drive innovation in Canada but operating in a vacuum does the National industry harm in the long term.

    DJI is not going away and they will continue to expand reducing their economies of scale.

    At the end of the day DJI has to become compliant to operate. They refuse to do so because it’s not worth it to them. I have no answer. People in Edmonton seemed to think they’d have to go big or go home.

    Puts us little guys at a disadvantage. I certainly can’t afford stocking up on these $100+K systems.

    I’m contacting DJI and TC to express my concerns. I suggest we all keep hammering them until our interests are looked after.

    Liked by 1 person

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