General

New Canadian Drone Regulations – Maritime Info Sessions

Transport Canada will be holding information sessions on the new regulations.  Below is the schedule for the first events in the Maritimes.


Following the publication of the Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) on January 9, 2019, Transport Canada officials will be hosting public information sessions to answer questions on the new regulations.

The first sessions will be held:

Date Time Venue Registration
Tuesday, February 19, 2019 1400-1600 Halifax Central Library – Paul O-Regan Hall

5440 Spring Garden Road

Halifax, NS

B3J 1E9

In-person
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 1800-2000 University of Prince Edward Island – Climate Research Lab

550 University Avenue

Charlottetown, PEI

C1A 4P3

Space is limited so please contact climate@upei.ca with your name, affiliation, email and mailing address to reserve your spot
Thursday, February 21, 2019 1900-2100 Fredericton Convention Centre – Pointe Sainte Anne Room

670 Queen Street

Fredericton NB

E3B 1C2

In-person

Additional sessions in other regions will be scheduled shortly.

For further information on drone safety rules, please visit Canada.ca/drone-safety.

Aerodromes vs Airports

One area of confusion when it comes to dealing with Transport Canada aviation regulations is the subtle differences between aerodrome and airport.  While the definitions are very similar and overlap there are slight differences that impact which regulations may apply and how they are applied.

The following document on the TC website provides further details: https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/publications/tp13549-chapter6-406.htm

Aerodrome or airport—what’s the difference?
The terms airport and aerodrome are often used interchangeably by the aviation industry; legislation and regulation—at least in Canada—make primary use of the latter. For instance, the Canadian Aeronautics Act defines an aerodrome as:

“Any area of land, water (including the frozen surface thereof) or other supporting surface used, designed, prepared, equipped or set apart for use either in whole or in part for the arrival, departure movement or servicing thereon or associated therewith.”

Aerodrome categories
There are three different categories of aerodromes, each presenting progressively different safety requirements. In order of ascending safety level, the categories are listed below:

  • aerodromes (small airstrips located on private property that are neither registered nor certified),
  • registered aerodromes, and
  • certified aerodromes, referred to as airports.

Registered aerodromes
While listed, registered aerodromes are not certified as airports in the Canada Flight Supplement (CFS)—a publication for pilots containing operating information for registered aerodromes and airports. Registered aerodromes are not subject to ongoing inspection by Transport Canada; however, they are inspected periodically to verify compliance with Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) and to ensure the accuracy of information published in the CFS and the Water Aerodrome Supplement (WAS). In spite of these efforts, pilots planning to use a registered aerodrome are still expected to contact aerodrome operators to confirm CFS information is current.

Certified aerodromes
Airports are aerodromes certified under Subsection 302.03 of the CARs. Despite regulations that govern registered and non-registered aerodromes, the onus remains on a pilot to determine whether an aerodrome is safe and suitable. Regulations are in place primarily to protect those unfamiliar with an airport environment—the fare-paying public and those residing in the vicinity who could be affected by unsafe airport operations.

So it summary, an airport is a certified aerodrome as per the Canadian Flight Supplement & Water Aerodrome Supplement designations.

DJI Welcomes Release of Modernized Canadian Drone Rules

January 9, 2019 – DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, welcomes today’s publication of modernized Canadian drone regulations as a measured approach ensuring that Canada remains open to safe and responsible use of drones.

“The regulatory framework published strikes a sensible balance between protecting public safety and bringing the benefits of drone technology to Canadian businesses and the public at large,” said Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs at DJI. “The vast majority of drone pilots fly safely and responsibly, and governments, aviation authorities and drone manufacturers agree we need to work together to ensure that all drone pilots know basic safety rules.”

DJI is pleased that thousands of people submitted comments to Transport Canada to help them understand how drones are being used safely and productively already, and how to integrate them safely into the airspace without unduly burdening their ability to fly. These comments were clearly heard, as the final regulations are much improved from the draft rules.

“Several aspects of Canada’s new regulations are particularly innovative,” added Schulman, “including an easily accessible online test, rules that will allow for night operations, and a framework that will keep drones away from major airports while not simply outlawing operations anywhere near populated areas.”

A key component of these new rules is the Safety Assured Flight Envelope system, through which manufacturers will declare that their drones are suitable for use in advanced operations, such as over people or in controlled airspace. DJI will be examining the details of the SAFE system with the goal of participating in it, to continue to provide leading products for our commercial and enterprise customers in Canada.

DJI supports rules that make it easy for pilots to register with the authorities, as well as educational initiatives to ensure pilots understand how to fly drones safely. DJI strongly condemns unsafe and illegal drone operations, and believes registration schemes, online knowledge tests to educate drone pilots, and reasonable restrictions on where drones can fly are the best tools to ensure drones maintain their admirable safety record.

DJI has led the industry in developing technology to help enhance the safety of drone operations:

  • In 2013, DJI pioneered geofencing systems for its drones, using GPS position to warn or restrict drone pilots from entering locations which pose national security or aviation safety concerns.
  • In 2016, DJI upgraded its geofencing programming to include the capability for live updates of temporary flight restrictions and other changing hazardous conditions such as wildfires, while also adding flexibility for drone pilots with authority to operate in those locations.
  • DJI built automatic altitude limitations into its flight control apps to help pilots ensure they fly at safe altitudes.
  • DJI developed sense-and-avoid systems for recent drone models, which use sensors to identify obstacles and either stop short of them or navigate around them.
  • DJI created return-to-home systems which automatically guide a drone back to its takeoff point if it is low on battery or loses radio connection to its pilot.
  • DJI invented intelligent systems to monitor available battery life and temperature in real time, maintain battery health and warn of potential battery malfunctions before flight.

DJI has helped support scientific research into the risk posed by drones, such as this study, to ensure regulations are based on the best available evidence to achieve their safety goals. DJI will continue to provide materials to governments and aviation authorities for testing, technical expertise or other necessary assistance

New Canadian Drone Regulations Released

The long delayed and much anticipated new drone/uav/rpas regulations from Transport Canada were finally released today (Jan 9 2019).

The full details can be found in Canada Gazette  Part II – http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/2019-01-09/pdf/g2-15301.pdf

Those looking for a more simplified view of the new Canadian drone rules can look here:  http://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/flying-drone-safely-legally.html

We will be doing a full review and analysis of the new laws in the coming days and weeks.

Current State of Canadian Drone Laws – January 2019

With the proposed new Transport Canada drone/uav/rpas regulations originally promised by the end of 2018 still stuck in unknown limbo, the prior regulations are still in effect as they had been in 2018.

For recreational use, Interim Order #9 still is in place.  For non-recreational use, which covers most research and business uses, an Exception or more probably an SFOC is still required.

The main Transport Canada drone page can be found here:
https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety.html

The general summary for recreational use of drones between 250g-25kg is as follows:

  • below 90 m above the ground
  • at least 30 m away from vehicles, vessels and the public (if your drone weighs over 250 g and up to 1 kg)
  • at least 76 m away from vehicles, vessels and the public (if your drone weighs over 1 kg and up to 35 kg)
  • at least 5.6 km away from aerodromes (any airport, seaplane base or area where aircraft take off and land)
  • at least 1.9 km away from heliports or aerodromes used by helicopters only
  • outside of controlled or restricted airspace
  • at least 9 km away from a natural hazard or disaster area
  • away from areas where its use could interfere with police or first responders
  • during the day and not in clouds
  • within your sight at all times
  • within 500 m of yourself
  • clearly marked with your name, address and telephone number

Full details of the Interim Order are outlined here:
http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p1/2018/2018-06-16/html/notice-avis-eng.html#ne6

If you fly your drone for anything non-recreational you must get a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). The certificate tells you how and where you are allowed to use your drone. Although most operators will need a certificate, you may be able to qualify for one of two exemptions.  For more information on the certificate and exemptions, read Getting permission to fly your drone.

Full details on the SFOC process can be found here:
https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/getting-permission-fly-drone/applying-special-flight-operations-certificate.html

An SFOC however is not a free for all, we cover many of the standard restrictions in this article: https://blog.flitelab.com/2017/03/19/sfocs-not-a-drone-get-out-of-jail-free-card/

For those looking for assistance with the SFOC process, we provide consulting services to assist with creating all the required processes, procedures, and associated documentation and applications.  Details can be found here:
https://blog.flitelab.com/2016/12/17/sfoc-application-consulting-services/

Finding a Canadian Drone Flight School

As part of the Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) for using a drone/uav/rpas commercially or outside of the limits of the recreational rules, you will need to take a recognized UAV ground school course.

Transport Canada provides a list of schools that have self-declared that they provide training in line with Transport Canada standards on their website here:
http://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/find-drone-flight-school.html

For those looking for an online based course, our primary recommendation is Coastal Drone