Commercial

Air Transportation Safety Investigation Report A17Q016

The TSB – Transportation Safety Board of Canada has released their report on the suspected drone/aircraft collision over Quebec in October 2017:

http://www.bst-tsb.gc.ca/eng/rapports-reports/aviation/2017/a17q0162/a17q0162.asp

Noted items:

The damage was limited to a dent at the point of impact on the left wing de-icing boot, as well as scratches on the upper surface of the left wing. The damage was minor and had no effect on the airworthiness of the aircraft. The aircraft was returned to service the same day.

The investigation was unable to identify the operator of the drone involved in the collision with the Sky Jet M.G. Inc. aircraft. No debris from the drone could be found, and it could not be determined with certainty whether it was used for recreational or non-recreational purposes.

The CYQB control tower had not been informed of any UAV activity in the Class C control zone under its jurisdiction, no SFOC had been issued, and no Notices to Airmen had reported any such activity on 12 October 2017. The presence of a drone within controlled airspace had not been detected by the radar in the CYQB control tower. Because neither TC nor NAV CANADA was aware of this drone operation in the control zone, the investigation concluded that the regulations governing the operation of drones were not followed.

It is still unclear as to if this was a drone or misreporting of another object, given that no evidence was found to positively identify the drone or operator.  While we do not deny it may have been a drone, the evidence seems thin.

Shams, Scams, Flimflams, and Drones

When it comes to any industry there are always a few that will try and exploit the market by all means possible to make a quick $$$.  In new industries like with UAVs/drones, this can be even more pronounced as scammers look to profit from the general lack of knowledge.

We recently had an experience with this where a new “drone” company directly stole content from this very blog, word for word, to promote a competitive service of their own.  When confronted they accused us of copying them!  The fact that our content had been written over a year prior to theirs seemed lost in the logic of a flimflam artist. (If we owned a time machine I think we could make better use of it than stealing someone’s written word on drones, but I digress)  Further review of their website found images taken from other UAV firms as well, so at least we are not alone, and perhaps should be flattered to have been included in their “market research”??

This is not the first case of this nor will it be the last.  Many drone businesses have seen their work being copied and used without credit over the last number of years, some even being listed for resale.  Again, ethics and morals are lost on some, unfortunately.  Even those listing what appear to be high standing credentials and years of related experience can sometimes be less than honest, scammers exist at all levels, just remember Bernie Madoff.

We’ve also experienced losing jobs and clients to other “professional” SFOC holding UAV operators that were willing to work outside the regulations, offering clients services that legally cannot be done, which makes it hard to compete on a level playing field.  We and most others, however, choose to work with the system, although not perfect, is what we have, and putting the client and public at risk for a few dollars is not worth it long term for anyone.

The simple reality is there is a small percentage in any sector that have a moral compass that needs calibration.  Eventually, they either fall in line or move on to exploit another industry once exposed, but for a short time can do great damage to an industry and leave a bad taste in the mouths of customers.

End of the day the customer needs to do their homework when selecting a provider in any industry, and possibly more so in the UAV arena, where many companies are new and it is hard to spot the professionals from the quick buck crowd.  Perform due diligence, ask questions, check with others in the market, reach out to past customers if possible, see what they have posted and shared on social media to help develop a profile of what they are and how they work.  While the vast majority of providers are honest hard working people, there are the few lying in wait to pounce on unsuspecting prey.

The UAV industry is an exciting and fast-moving one, much like the gold rush of the old west, and with it come the snake oil salesmen and carpet baggers looking for their next victim.  Try not to be that person, on either side of the transaction.

UAV Operations – Atlantic Canada – Nav Canada Coordination Changes

Received from Nav Canada…
 
December, 2017
 
UAV Operator’s in Atlantic Canada,
Effective 11 December 2017, the responsibility for coordinating UAV operations with ATS (Air Traffic Service) facilities has been moved from the Moncton Area Control Centre (Peter Hebert) to the Halifax Flight Information Centre (FIC).
UAV coordination is very important to the safety of the flying public.
For your convenience and to expedite this process, a centralized contact point, to meet the needs of the UAV operator, has been established. The Halifax Flight Information Centre (FIC) is your new contact point for Atlantic Canada. Telephones/emails are answered 24hrs a day, every day.
Our experienced specialists will take your information, notify the appropriate ATS agencies and issue appropriate notices (NOTAMs) as necessary. NOTAMs (notices of aviation activity for pilots and ATS facilities) will now be required when UAV operations meet certain parameters. This requirement does not inhibit the UAV operator’s activity, but does inform the flying public of the activity.
All we require is the following information:
a. Contact name and phone number
b. Radius (nautical mile (NM) or FT) of flight.
c. Location of flight (latitude and longitude in whole degrees, minutes, and seconds)
d. Maximum height (FT) of the flight
e. Description of the UAV:
i. Type
ii. Wingspan
iii. Weight
iv. Colour
f. Date, time and duration of intended flight
 
The Halifax FIC Specialist will then provide the UAV operator with a coordination number as a reference for any further contact with the FIC regarding the activity.
Aviation safety is our first concern and this information ensures that the aviation community is aware of your activity.
Please email UAV_QM@navcanada.ca or call 902 873-3227.
Regards,
 
Terry Chase
Manager, Halifax FIC

Proposed Canadian UAV Regs Review – Still No LiDAR Allowance

Under existing regulations the use of laser payloads, such as LiDAR requires a special approval from Health Canada as well as a “special” SFOC for such use.

This will not change in the proposed new regulations, laser devices such as LiDAR will still require an SFOC, and are excluded under the new regulation primary allowances.

900.26 No person shall operate an unmanned aircraft if the aircraft is transporting explosive, corrosive, flammable or biohazardous material or a payload consisting of a directed bright light source as defined in section 601.14 or a payload that can be jettisoned, self-propelled, dispersed or dropped unless the operation is conducted under a special flight operations certificate — UAS issued under section 904.03 and the pilot may conduct an operation set out in subsection 902.51(2).

This is in our view short sighted by Transport Canada, given the growing industrial use of LiDAR on UAVs and the fact many are eye safe devices, used without restriction on ground based vehicles already.

Transport Canada UAS Task Force

As part of the recent Transport Canada regulatory engagement sessions on the proposed new UAV regulations was also the introduction of the newly created UAS Task Force.  It was noted during the session that this new group was formed as a result of new budget in 2017.

As per the presentation the Task Force is described as follows:

Introduction to the Task Force

Budget 2017 committed to modernize Canada’s transportation system, with funding for UAS to:

  • “Develop regulations for the safe adoption of connected and autonomous vehicles and unmanned air vehicles… Work with industry, provinces, territories and municipalities to establish pilot projects… [and] Provide the standards and certifications that industry will need to safely use these new technologies”

  • TC will implement Budget 2017 commitments through a dedicated UAS Task Force.

  • Mandated to address safety and regulatory gaps, proactively address UAS as a disruptive technology, and foster economic success for the industry.

  • Will deliver regulations, certifications, and standards to lay the foundation for the future of UAS in Canada, support innovative pilot projects and test sites, and work with industry to integrate UAS into Canada’s air transportation system.