Regulations

New Canadian Drone Regulations – DND Aerodromes

As we previously wrote, operations within 3nm of a DND managed aerodrome will still require SFOCs under the new regulations, and are not part of standard Advanced operations.

For clarification on this issue and its impact on operators that fly frequently in these zones, we reached out to Transport Canada for clarification on how this will be managed:

Our intention is to issue a standing SFOC to cover these types of situations and you should be able to work with DND and NAV Canada to continue to operate as you have been.

This is reassuring to know it can be dealt with under Standing SFOCs.

We have asked further on if an assured UAV is required under such an SFOC and are awaiting further information.

 

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:

Icing
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.

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.

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.