Proposed Canadian UAV Regs Review – Grandfathered Compliance

Since the announcement of the NPA the recently released proposed UAV regulations one of the major concerns of many existing operators was the requirement for Compliant UAV systems for Complex Operations.  For many businesses this makes up a large portion of their work, and potentially a large added cost not easily absorbed with the current limited expensive Compliant systems.

To address these concerns Transport Canada has made an allowance to grandfather existing UAVs in for use for Complex Operations without the need for them to meet the design standard:

(c) in the case of an unmanned aircraft system that is operated, or that is intended to be operated, under Division III of Subpart 2 of Part IX, attests

  • (i) that they hold a statement of conformity issued by the manufacturer of the system and that they have not modified the system, or

  • (ii) if the operator does not hold a statement of conformity issued by the manufacturer, that the operator purchased the system on or before December 15, 2017.

After December 15 2017 however the system would need to meet the design standard for such use:

(c) in the case of an unmanned aircraft system that the operator purchased after December 15, 2017, the system is designed and constructed in accordance with a standard set out in section 902.72;

That being said, the grandfathering has a MAJOR caveat as pointed out by one of our observant readers:

(3) Despite paragraph (1)(c), no person shall conduct the operations set out in paragraphs (2)(a), (b), (d), (g) and (i) in respect of any system that the operator purchased on or before December 15, 2017 unless the system is designed and constructed in accordance with a standard set out in section 902.72

This basically claws back most of the allowances that fully complaint UAVs have.  Grandfathered systems cannot:

  • (a) operations at an altitude that is above that set out in paragraph 902.10(b) under the circumstances set out in that paragraph, but not above 400 feet AGL;
  • (b) operations where the distance of the aircraft from the location from which the pilot is operating the aircraft is more than that set out in section 902.13, but not more than one nautical mile;
  • (d) operations at a distance that is less than the minimum distance from a built-up area set out in section 902.17;
  • (g) operations over or within a built-up area, conducted in accordance with sections 902.54 and 902.55, except operations carried out for the purposes of conducting flight training, research and development, or testing and evaluation
  • (i) operations in Class C, D or E airspace that meet the requirements of sections 902.57 to 902.59, except operations conducted for the purposes of conducting flight training, research and development, or testing and evaluation;

Basically the main benefits of grandfathering are removed.  The major ones being no operations in built-up areas or controlled airspace.

The allowances they are given are:

  • (c) operations at a distance that is less than the minimum distance from the centre of an aerodrome set out in section 902.15;
  • (e) operations at night conducted in accordance with sections 902.52 and 902.53;
  • (f) operations over or within an open-air assembly of persons, conducted in accordance with section 902.54;
  • (h) operations conducted in accordance with section 902.56, where the lateral distance of the aircraft from persons, vehicles or vessels is less than the minimum required by section 902.18;
  • (j) operations in Class F airspace, except operations in
    • (i) Class F Special Use Restricted Airspace — UAS Operations unless authorized under a special flight operations certificate — UAS issued under section 904.03, and
    • (ii) Class F Special Use Restricted Airspace — Military Operations unless authorized under section 902.60.

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