With tight restrictions on where recreational drones/models can now be used in Canada many owners are wondering where they can legally fly.
The main issue involved:
- 9 km of any airport/aerodrome/helipad.
- 250 feet (75m) from buildings, vehicles, people.
Even in more rural/suburban areas, getting 250′ feet from neighbors and roads can be a challenge. The local soccer/ball field that many may have used before is many times bordering residential areas or next to a school or community center.
That being said, there are still areas available for recreational model use within most cities. As part of the regulations was an exclusion for MAAC (Model Aeronautics Association of Canada) fields. If you are interested more in the RC hobby definitely check for a local club as it can be a great place to learn.
For many however the aircraft & flight aspects of drone use are not the focus, and it is more about getting unique aerial photos and video, so flying at the same field all the time may not meet their needs.
To help determine where the new zones apply the NRC website is a good resource. While not perfect it is currently one of the few accessible locations to find information on where controlled airspace and airports are located – NRC UAV Site Selection Tool
(One item to note on the NRC site is that many aerodromes are shown with only a 3NM circle, not the 5NM/9KM zone of the recent regulations.)
AirMarket is another new online resource for UAV operators that provides online flight planning and maps as a paid service. A free trial is available.
In addition this article outlines other related tools to assist with determining airspace and related information: Canadian Aviation Chart Resources
NOTE: There are many other areas that may also be off limits. Parks Canada and many cities and other areas have bylaws that restrict drone use as well. The links above mainly focus on the airspace and aviation areas outlined by the new Transport Canada regulations.