Proposed Canadian UAV Regs Review – UAV Categories

Under the upcoming Canadian UAV regulations multiple operating categories are proposed to mitigate the risks by requiring increasingly more stringent requirements as the weight of the UAV increases, as well as the areas of operation.

  • 250 g or less – unregulated (micro)
  • more than 250 g but not more than 1 kg (very small)
  • more than 1 kg but not more than 25 kg (small)

Within the small category there is a distinction based on the complexity of the operation and area it is being flow within:

  • limited operations
  • complex operations

Operation of a UA this size in a rural location (see footnote 6) would be referred to as a “limited operation,” whereas in a built-up area, near an aerodrome or within controlled airspace, as a “complex operation.”

For the purposes of these proposed Regulations, a definition of the term built-up area (see footnote 7) is proposed and would allow a person to be able to identify if they are in a built-up area.

Footnote 7
Built-up area means a populated or developed area of a locality, including a city, a town, a village or a hamlet.

Each of these comes with its own restrictions and allowances:

tc-new-regs

For the majority of most current commercial operators, small complex will be the primary category.

Full requirements & restrictions for each category are as follows:

UA of more than 250 g but not more than 25 kg

The following requirements, for example, would apply to all UAS pilots/operators irrespective of the weight of the UA and areas of operation:

  • Clearly mark the UA with the name, address and telephone number of the operator;
  • Notify air traffic control if the UA inadvertently enters or is likely to enter controlled airspace;
  • Operate in manner that is not reckless or negligent (that could not endanger life or property);
  • Give right of way to manned aircraft;
  • Use another person as a visual observer if using a device that generates a streaming video also known as a first-person view (FPV) device;
  • Confirm that no radio interference could affect the flight of the UA;
  • Do not operate in cloud; and
  • Have liability insurance of at least $100,000.

UA of more than 250 g but not more than 1 kg (very small)

It is proposed that a recreational or non-recreational UA pilot who operates a UA that weighs between 250 g and 1 kg and who operates it anywhere must adhere to the following requirements and limits including, but not limited to:

  • (1) Pass a written knowledge test (similar to a boating (see footnote 4) test) to demonstrate aeronautical knowledge in specific subject areas, such as airspace classification and structure, the effects of weather and other areas;
  • (2) Be at least 14 years of age;
  • (3) Operate at the following minimum distance from an aerodrome: 3 nautical miles (NM) [5.56 km] from the centre of the aerodrome. The required distance from heliports and/or aerodromes used exclusively by helicopters would be 1 NM (1.85 km);
  • (4) Operate at least 100 feet (30.5 m) from a person. A distance of less than 100 feet laterally would be possible for operations if conditions such as a reduced maximum permitted speed of 10 knots (11.5 mph) and a minimum altitude of 100 feet are respected;
  • (5) Operate at a maximum distance of 0.25 NM (0.46 km) from the pilot;
  • (6) Operations over or within open-air assemblies of persons (see footnote 5) would not be allowed;
  • (7) Operate below 300 feet;
  • (8) Operate at less than 25 knots (29 mph); and
  • (9) Night operations would not be allowed.

UA of more than 1 kg but not more than 25 kg (small)

If a person intends to operate a UA that weighs more than 1 kg (2.2 lb.) but not more than 25 kg (55.1 lb.), it is proposed that they comply with increasingly stringent requirements depending on where they operate. Operation of a UA this size in a rural location (see footnote 6) would be referred to as a “limited operation,” whereas in a built-up area, near an aerodrome or within controlled airspace, as a “complex operation.”

For the purposes of these proposed Regulations, a definition of the term built-up area (see footnote 7) is proposed and would allow a person to be able to identify if they are in a built-up area. In addition to specific requirements/limitations pertaining to either a limited or complex operation, some common requirements are proposed. A person who wants to operate a small UA, for example, would be required to perform a site survey prior to launch to identify any obstacles and keep maintenance and flight records.

Small UA (limited operations)

If a person wants to operate a UA that weighs more than 1 kg but not more than 25 kg in an environment with a lower population and less air traffic (generally referred to as a “rural area”), it is proposed that they must adhere to the following requirements and limits, including, but not limited to:

  • (1) Pass a written knowledge test (similar to a boating test) to demonstrate aeronautical knowledge in specific subject areas, such as airspace classification and structure, the effects of weather and other areas;
  • (2) Be at least 16 years of age;
  • (3) Operate at the following minimum distance from an aerodrome: 3 NM (5.56 km) or greater, respecting the control zone; or 1 NM (1.85 km) if there is no control zone. The required distance from heliports and/or aerodromes used exclusively by helicopters would be 1 NM (1.85 km);
  • (4) Operate at least 250 feet (76.20 m) from a person. A lateral distance of less than 250 feet would be possible for operations if conditions such as a maximum permitted speed of 10 knots (11.5 mph) and a minimum altitude of 250 feet are respected;
  • (5) Operate at a minimum distance of 0.5 NM (0.93 km) from a built-up area;
  • (6) Operate at a maximum distance of 0.5 NM (0.93 km) from the pilot;
  • (7) Operations over or within open-air assemblies of persons (see footnote 8) would not be allowed;
  • (8) Operate below 300 feet (91.44 m) or 100 feet (30.48 m) above a building or structure with conditions;
  • (9) Operate at less than 87 knots (100 mph); and
  • (10) Night operations would not be allowed.

Small UA (complex operations)

Operating a heavier UA near populated areas may pose a greater probability and severity of an incident or accident involving people or property. Operations within 0.5 NM (0.93 km) of a built-up area, near an aerodrome or in controlled airspace would necessarily need preparations and involve more than buying a UAS and reading the operating manual. If a person would want to operate a UA that weighs more than 1 kg but not more than 25 kg in this type of environment, it is proposed that they adhere to the following three unique requirements:

  • (1) Have a UAS that is in compliance with a standard published by a standards organization accredited by a national or international standards accrediting body; (see footnote 9) have available the statement from the manufacturer that the UAS meets the standard; and do not modify the UAS. Transport Canada would alleviate the requirement for a pilot/operator to have a UAS that meets the design standards for operation in a complex operating area if that pilot/operator has bought a UAS prior to the coming-into-force date of the new regulations;
  • (2) Register the UAS with Transport Canada and ensure that the certificate of registration is readily available by the pilot-in-command; and
  • (3) Obtain a pilot permit that would be valid for five years. The pilot permit application to Transport Canada would include, for example, the following:
    • • An attestation of piloting skills by another UA pilot, and
    • • The successful completion of a comprehensive knowledge exam.

The following requirements and limits would also apply:

  • (1) Pass a comprehensive written knowledge test (part of the pilot permit requirement above);
  • (2) Be at least 16 years of age;
  • (3) Request and receive authorization for flight in airspace which is a control zone for an aerodrome from the appropriate air traffic control unit;
  • (4) Operate at least 100 feet (30.48 m) from a person. A distance of less than 100 feet would be possible for operations if conditions such as a maximum allowed speed of 10 knots (11.5 mph) and a minimum altitude of 100 feet are respected;
  • (5) Operate at a maximum distance of 0.5 NM (0.93 km) from the pilot;
  • (6) Operate over or within open-air assemblies of persons if operated at an altitude of greater than 300 feet, but less than 400 feet, and from which, in the event of an emergency necessitating an immediate landing, it would be possible to land the aircraft without creating a hazard to persons or property on the surface;
  • (7) Operate at a maximum of 400 feet (121.92 m) or 100 feet above a building or structure with conditions; and
  • (8) Night operations would be allowed with conditions.

2 comments

  1. Haven’t been paying attention to the very small category much, but why is their no mention of this category for limited or complex operations. If not allowed, then why??
    Just another mystery for me to look in to with TC

    Like

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