General

Some Changes – Interim Order No. 7 Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft

In the most recently published Interim Order for recreational model use there have been some interesting changes.

Interim Order No. 7 Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft

The distances to aerodromes that had been 9km are now reduced:

(5) No person shall operate a model aircraft
(a) within 3 nautical miles (5.5 km) of the centre of an
aerodrome, except a heliport or an aerodrome that is
used exclusively by helicopters;
(b) within 1 nautical mile (1.8 km) of a heliport or an
aerodrome that is used exclusively by helicopters; or
(c) inside an aerodrome control zone.

There is now a change to distance requirements for models under 1kg:

(3) No person shall operate a model aircraft having a total
weight of more 250 g (0.55 pounds) but not more than 1 kg
(2.2 pounds) at a lateral distance of less 100 feet (30 m)
from vehicles, vessels or the public, including spectators,
bystanders or any person not associated with the operation
of the aircraft.
(4) No person shall operate a model aircraft having a total
weight of more 1 kg (2.2 pounds) but not more than 35 kg
(77.2 pounds) at a lateral distance of less 250 feet (75 m)
from vehicles, vessels or the public, including spectators,
bystanders or any person not associated with the operation
of the aircraft.

The mention of lateral distance from animals has also been removed, as has buildings & structures.

TRANSPORTATION OF DANGEROUS GOODS – SPECIFICALLY LITHIUM BATTERIES

The following was received from Transport Canada PNR as a resource for UAV operators regarding Lithium batteries


BACKGROUND

Many UAV operators utilize equipment which uses Lithium batteries as a power source for the UAV, Control Station and other ancillary equipment required for operations.  There have been several recent incidents of Lithium Batteries catching fire, overheating, exploding and releasing toxic substances into the atmosphere.  It behooves all UAV operators to ensure that they are in compliance with all regulations concerning the transportation of these and other dangerous goods between job sites, whether by air, sea or surface, to ensure the safety of their crews and the general public.

RESOURCES

The following links provide guidance on the regulatory requirements for transportation of dangerous goods, including Lithium Batteries.

Rethinking Canadian “Drone” Laws

Since the announcement of much tougher recreational drone/model aircraft regulations by the Minister of Transport in mid March, there have been numerous debates on the direction and impact of the new laws.  Canadian regulations basically went from a free for all to basic ban overnight.  Somewhere in the middle of the extremes is a balance.

This article outlines some thoughts on where that balance may be and an improved approach to addressing the management of drones/uavs/models going forward that not only accounts for aviation and public safety, but takes a real world view that the technology is here to stay and must be allowed to be used both recreationally and commercially if Canada is to remain at the forefront of innovation.

These ideas and concepts are not set in stone but merely first thoughts on striking a fair and balanced approach to address the concerns of all stakeholders.  No set of laws will be perfect for all but they should address each group as fairly as possible.

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UAV Based LiDAR & SFOCs

One of the growing uses of the UAV platform for industrial applications is carrying  LiDAR to provide for aerial high resolution mapping.  Utilizing a LiDAR payload under an SFOC however does require some additional paperwork & approval, as laser devices are an exception to most standard SFOCs, ie it cannot simply be attached and flown as would a more traditional camera or sensor.

As per the Staff Instructions:

6.6 Authorization for the Use of Lasers

Before a Certificate applicant can operate a UAV fitted with laser equipment, the applicant has to complete a “Notice of Proposal to Conduct Outdoor Laser Operation(s)” and submit it to a TC office…

An aeronautical assessment is then conducted and the documentation is forwarded to Health Canada who validates the Nominal Ocular Hazard Distance calculated by the applicant in the “Notice of Proposal to Conduct Outdoor Laser Operations” form submitted. The normal process time is at least 30 days to review the notification and determine if a laser authorization can be issued.

There are no exceptions to the requirement for this process. For example, even if the aircraft is going to be fitted with a short-range laser rangefinder to act as an altimeter the equipment on the aircraft could cause a hazard to aviation safety therefore an assessment is required.

Refer to sections 601.20 (Projection of Directed Bright Light Source at an Aircraft), 601.21 (Requirement for Notification) and 601.22 (Requirement for Pilot-in-command) of the CARs for further guidance.

Basically to carry a LiDAR based payload, a separate NOTICE OF PROPOSAL TO CONDUCT OUTDOOR LASER OPERATION(S) form must be submitted with the SFOC application, which is passed on to Health Canada for review. This additional process takes at least 30 days.

In addition, specific SOPs for the safe deployment and usage of the LiDAR system should be part of the operator’s operational documents.

From our recent research and discussions with Transport Canada on this matter they recognize the growing usage of these payloads and a more streamlined approach is being developed to allow for easier implementation of LiDAR systems on UAVs. The new approach being discussed would be the establish a list of approved LiDAR devices, that have already gone through the Health Canada process, which could then be utilized by operators without the additional paperwork other than filing for an SFOC with a known device. There is no timeline for when this may be put in place. At this time the process is as noted above as per the Staff Instructions.

CreativeLive – New Skills for Aerial Imaging

Learning is an ongoing life long process.  No matter how deep we are into our specific field there is always the opportunity to learn new skills and pickup new tips.  When your running a business full time however it can be hard to find time to dedicate to education.  This is especially true in the field of aerial imaging, where technology changes so fast and many of us come from non related fields, there can be a lot of new skills to learn from flying the drone, through to editing the imagery, and marketing our services.

We recently wrote about CreativeLive as a learning resource on our sister website blog over at schooner labs as a great online source for education for those with limited time.

CreativeLive uses a freemium pricing model, the classes are free to live stream or can be purchased to watch at a later date if they don’t match your immediate schedule.

Photographer Chase Jarvis and entrepreneur Craig Swanson in Seattle in 2010, they leverage their background to bring a wide range of industry experts as instructors for their courses, giving the viewer some of the best in breed real world experience across the topic areas.

In terms of aerial imaging, CreativeLive offers a number of courses that directly apply to day to day needs around photo editing & video production. There are also a number of aerial & drone specific courses in the available library. In addition they also carry courses on managing your business and getting the most out of social media promotion and branding and related topics.

So when you have some free time between UAV operations, have a look at CreativeLive to see if there may be a chance to learn some new skills you can apply to your aerial imaging business to help move things to the next level.

Note – We are a CreativeLive affiliate and the links provided do provide us a small amount of funding if you purchase any of their offerings.  As with everything we share we only recommend items we truly believe in and have used.  Like you we are just a small business and making every penny count is key in the quickly changing aerial industry.

Cold Weather Drone Flying Tips

With winter now here in the northern hemisphere and many new drone owners taking to the skies with their holiday gifts, we thought it might be helpful to provide some tips and advice on using drones in cold weather. Cold has a major impact on how these aircraft fly so there are a few key items that should be kept in mind for winter use.

The number one issue with cold weather and drones is the impact it has on the batteries.  As we have written before, the LIPO batteries used in most UAVs have a chemical makeup that slows in lower temperatures, which in turn reduces the power delivered from them and overall capacity and flight time.

Make sure batteries are fully charged before flight, you don’t want to use a partially charged battery in cold weather, where flight time is already reduced.

handwarmersKeep the batteries in a warm location before use, DJI recommends having them at 25C before flight.  Warm them in the car or store them in a small container such as a cooler with hand warmers, hot water bottles, heating bags, or similar to help maintain the temperature.  Be sure to monitor them to ensure they do not get too hot or become wet in the process.

Sticking a spare battery in the inside pocket of your jacket can also help keeping them warm from body heat.  dji-heaterDJI also makes battery heaters for some of their systems which can also be a convenient solution, although they do use a small amount of the batteries charge to run the warmer.

Many consumer drones have the battery mounted inside the main body of the drone itself, which helps protect it from the elements.  However on larger systems and others with exposed batteries, wrapping them in a layer of foam or thermal insulation can help to maintain the temperature of the battery in flight. (more…)