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

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 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


Additional sessions in other regions will be scheduled shortly.

For further information on drone safety rules, please visit

TC RPAS SAFE Assurance Draft & Associated Manufacturer Info

Attached are the drafted and associated documents from Transport Canada for the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Safety Assurance process.

These were provided to us by:
J. A. Martin
RPAS Task Force Engineering
Chief Engineer
Transport Canada / Transports Canada (AARV) Tower C, Place de Ville

car part ix – srpas manufacturer regulatory overview

rod – part ix srpas manufacturer regulatory review – jan 24

draft – ac 922-001 – rpas safety assurance

New Canadian Drone Regulations – Site Survey

One item that may seem obvious to some but not others is the requirement to do a site survey prior to any flights under the new regulations.

As per the CARs:

Site Survey
901.27 No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system unless, before commencing operations, they determine that the site for take-off, launch, landing or recovery is suitable for the proposed operation by conducting a site survey that takes into account the following factors:

(a) the boundaries of the area of operation;
(b) the type of airspace and the applicable regulatory requirements;
(c) the altitudes and routes to be used on the approach to and departure from the area of operation;
(d) the proximity of manned aircraft operations;
(e) the proximity of aerodromes, airports and heliports;
(f) the location and height of obstacles, including wires, masts, buildings, cell phone towers and wind turbines;
(g) the predominant weather and environmental conditions for the area of operation; and
(h) the horizontal distances from persons not involved in the operation.

This process has been mandatory for sometime for commercial SFOC holders, but for new users or previous recreational flyers it is something to keep in mind.

The process is really about knowing your surroundings in order to know where it is safe to fly and elements to avoid.  A simple step beyond merely jumping out and flying.

The biggest and most complex part of this may be knowing the airspace and where nearby airports and helipads may be.  Many not familiar with manned aviation may be unaware especially of helipads on nearby buildings for example.  Currently there are not a lot of easy to use tools readily accessible to the general public for determine this. Online tools like the the NRC Site Selection Tool are not 100% accurate and at this stage not been updated to reflect the new regulations.  There are third party tools available such as Airmarket FLYSAFE which now have a free recreational version.  Hopefully TC will work to provide better solutions in this area.


New Canadian Drone Regulations – Weather/Environmental Factors

With the new  Canadian drone regulations that come into effect June 1 2019 are some changes to the weather and environmental factors around when and where you can operate a drone/uav/rpas.

Gone are the minimum ceiling and visibility restrictions of the prior regulations.  Now the main factor is being able to keep the aircraft within line of sight.

Minimum Weather Conditions
901.34 No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system unless the weather conditions at the time of flight permit

(a) the operation to be conducted in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions; and
(b) the pilot of the system and any visual observer to conduct the entire flight within visual line-of-sight.

The biggest item in the above that may catch some out is “in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions” which implies within the specified operating limits such as temperature and wind speed.

On a DJI Phantom 4 Pro for example it has an Operating Temperature Range 32° to 104°F (0° to 40°C), which could restrict use during much of the year in Canada.

In addition as before, care must be taken around potential icing conditions as well:

901.35 (1) No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system when icing conditions are observed, are reported to exist or are likely to be encountered along the route of flight unless the aircraft is equipped with de-icing or anti-icing equipment and equipment designed to detect icing.

(2) No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system with frost, ice or snow adhering to any part of the remotely piloted aircraft.

As before you must keep clear of clouds as a general safety condition:

602.45 No person shall fly a kite or launch a model rocket or a rocket of a type used in a fireworks display into cloud or in a manner that is or is likely to be hazardous to aviation safety.

One big allowance now for many recreational users that had been limited to SFOC holders before is the ability to fly at night:

Night Flight Requirements
901.39 (1) No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system during the night unless the remotely piloted aircraft is equipped with position lights sufficient to allow the aircraft to be visible to the pilot and any visual observer, whether with or without night-vision goggles, and those lights are turned on.

(2) No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system using night-vision goggles unless the goggles are capable of, or the person has another means of, detecting all light within the visual spectrum.

New Canadian Drone Regulations – People, Buildings, Vehicles

One of the biggest changes in  the new Canadian drone regulations on Jan 9 2019 are around minimum distances allowed to people, buildings, and vehicles.

Gone are the restrictions to buildings and vehicles for both Basic and Advanced operations.  The primary requirement being to stay 30M from bystanders.  Flights over vehicles and buildings are permitted, as long as their are no freestanding people.

Horizontal Distance

901.26 Subject to paragraph 901.69(1)(b) or (c), no pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft at a distance of less than 100 feet (30 m) from another person, measured horizontally and at any altitude, except from a crew member or other person involved in the operation.

The exclusion of occupied vehicles and buildings was confirmed by Katelin Klassen of COASTAL DRONE in a recent review with the TC RPAS Task Force:

The 100′ horizontal distance from people mentioned in CAR 901.26 means freestanding bodies. “People” does not refer to those in cars or buildings. Asking people to step inside while you fly is totally reasonable under the new regulations.

One additional item of note near buildings is the ability to exceed the base 400′ AGL altitude limit as well, allowing 100′ above the structure if you are within 200′:

Maximum Altitude

901.25 (1) Subject to subsection (2), no pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft at an altitude greater than

(a) 400 feet (122 m) AGL; or
(b) 100 feet (30 m) above any building or structure, if the aircraft is being operated at a distance of less than 200 feet (61 m), measured horizontally, from the building or structure.

For Advanced operations the distance to bystanders can be further reduced, but is dependent on the assurance level the manufacture has approved for the UAV.  The details on the specifics are still unknown and TBA by TC.

901.69 (1) Subject to subsection (2), no pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system under this Division to conduct any of the following operations unless a declaration under section 901.76 has been made in respect of that model of system and the certificate of registration issued in respect of the aircraft specifies the operations for which the declaration was made:

(a) operations in controlled airspace;
(b) operations at a distance of less than 100 feet (30 m) but not less than 16.4 feet (5 m) from another person except from a crew member or other person involved in the operation, measured horizontally and at any altitude; or
(c) operations at a distance of less than 16.4 feet (5 m) from another person, measured horizontally and at any altitude.

The exception to this is at advertised events.  These will still require an SFOC for drone operations.

Special Aviation Events and Advertised Events

901.41 (1) No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system at any special aviation event or at any advertised event except in accordance with a special flight operations certificate — RPAS issued under section 903.03.

(2) For the purposes of subsection (1), advertised event means an outdoor event that is advertised to the general public, including a concert, festival, market or sporting event.

New Canadian Drone Exams – Asking Stupid Questions

With the release of the new Canadian drone regulations on Jan 9 2019 came the requirement for all users to pass either a Basic or Advanced online exam.

The supposed purpose of the exams were to ensure user knowledge, especially when it comes to safe use of drones, so as to ensure there are no ongoing issues near airports or the public that could result in accidents.

However this is where things go off the rails.  Instead of exams that focus on the safe use of the aircraft, focusing on the regulations around when and where you can fly, the exam goes off on tangents at times, pulling endless aviation jargon and technical details into the mix.

While we cannot go into the specifics on questions, as that would violate the regulations, case in point is a question around the definition of a “stabilator“.  Given that the vast majority of consumer drones are quadcopters, such as those commonly sold by DJI, which do not have traditional fixed wing control surfaces, especially less common ones as a stabilator, we question the purpose and logic of questions like this even being in the mix.

Others dig into the details of laminar flow and reading VNC charts.  Perhaps the Minister is hoping to develop the next generation of astronauts…

Many of the questions seem to be pulled directly from an existing pool for full scale manned aviation, not ones tailored to drones or the consumer market.

When you ask obtuse obscure irrelevant questions you lose the opportunity to educate and merely make clear to the user the pointlessness of the exam itself.  Instead of trying to learn in the process, users hitting these type of questions become frustrated and merely cheat their way through to get it over with, and see it is little more than a hurdle of red tape.

It would be like asking to explain how a limited-slip differential works during a driving test.  I suspect most would fail.

In a very limited test of 30 questions you have a small opportunity to try and stress the critical elements, which presumably are around safe use, so the focus of the exam should be towards those elements, once that every user needs to know and understand, not 1% edge cases or interesting aeronautical tidbits & definitions.

We have seen many causes already of people simply Googling the answers and in some cases asking for help in real time on social media for the answers.  A recent case on Facebook had one person posting screenshots of the test as he went asking others to give the answers.  After failing the test 3 previous times he was finally able to pass with the feedback provided.  What exactly does this accomplish when it comes to aviation and public safety?

Transport Canada has missed the mark with their approach in the new regulations, especially around the exams.  They clearly do not understand the target audience both in terms of what they should know to fly safely or even in terms of using everyday common language vs technical aviation jargon.

If you want an effective set of regulations they need to be easy to understand, easy to follow, and easy to enforce.  If they are not then people will either find work arounds or ignore them all together.  The new drone regulations for Canada miss on all marks.