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.