SFOC

New Canadian Drone Regulations – SFOCs

While the intent of the new regulations, coming into effect June 1 2019, is to remove the reliance on SFOCs, there are still instances where they will be required.

As per the new regulations outlined in CG2:

Subpart 3 — Special Flight Operations — Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems
Prohibition
903.01 No person shall conduct any of the following operations using a remotely piloted aircraft system that includes a remotely piloted aircraft having a maximum take-off weight of 250 g (0.55 pounds) or more unless the person complies with the provisions of a special flight operations certificate — RPAS issued by the Minister under section 903.03:

(a) the operation of a system that includes a remotely piloted aircraft having a maximum take-off weight of more than 25 kg (55 pounds);
(b) the operation of a system beyond visual line-of-sight, as referred to in subsection 901.11(2);
(c) the operation of a system by a foreign operator or pilot who has been authorized to operate remotely piloted aircraft systems by the foreign state;
(d) the operation of a remotely piloted aircraft at an altitude greater than those referred to in subsection 901.25(1), unless the operation at a greater altitude is authorized under subsection 901.71(2);
(e) the operation of more than five remotely piloted aircraft at a time from a single control station, as referred to in subsection 901.40(2);
(f) the operation of a system at a special aviation event or at an advertised event, as referred to in section 901.41;
(g) the operation of a system when the aircraft is transporting any of the payloads referred to in subsection 901.43(1);
(h) the operation of a remotely piloted aircraft within three nautical miles of an aerodrome operated under the authority of the Minister of National Defence, as referred to in subsection 901.47(3); and
(i) any other operation of a system for which the Minister determines that a special flight operations certificate — RPAS is necessary to ensure aviation safety or the safety of any person.

Two interesting items of note:

(h) the operation of a remotely piloted aircraft within three nautical miles of an aerodrome operated under the authority of the Minister of National Defence

This could impact many that often operate near DND managed aerodromes and heilpads, such as Shearwater in Halifax.

On plus side there is no mention of lasers as dangerous payload, so eye safe Lidar systems should be possible under the permit and not require a separate SFOC. This had been a concern raised during the feedback period.

 

New Canadian Drone Regulations – Foreign Operators

Under the new Canadian drone regulations, that come into effect June 1 2019, non Canadian foreign operators will be required to have an SFOC in place.  The Basic and Advanced permits do not apply.

As per the new regulations outlined in CG2:

Canada has not identified reciprocal foreign operator privileges with the United States. The FAA requires foreign commercial operators to register their RPAS in the country in which they are eligible to register and obtain operating authority from the Department of Transportation. In Canada, foreign operators are eligible to apply for a SFOC providing they are legally entitled to conduct the same operation in their own country. They need to provide evidence of such approvals when they apply for a SFOC.

 

Subpart 3 — Special Flight
Operations — Remotely Piloted
Aircraft Systems
Prohibition
903.01 No person shall conduct any of the following operations using a remotely piloted aircraft system that includes a remotely piloted aircraft having a maximum take-off weight of 250 g (0.55 pounds) or more unless the person complies with the provisions of a special flight operations certificate — RPAS issued by the Minister under section 903.03:

(c) the operation of a system by a foreign operator or pilot who has been authorized to operate remotely piloted aircraft systems by the foreign state;

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

TC RPAS Task Force Regulatory Update on Proposed Canadian Regulations – Oct 30 2018

During the USC Conference recently held in Vancouver (Oct 30 2018), Transport Canada provided an update on the proposed changes to Canadian legislation governing UAV/drones, which are now officially called Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS).

No solid date was given on when we will see the final version but they are targeting before end of 2018.

Roll-out will be done over a 6 month period once the regulations are published in Canada Gazette Part II.

The following is a summary of proposed regulations:

  • Single weight class from 250g-25kg for VLOS operations
  • Single set of regulations for recreational and commercial use
  • Operations fall into two types of operations: Basic, Advanced

Basic:

  • Class G Airspace Only
  • 1nm from heliports, 3nm from airports
  • No aircraft design standard requirement
  • Aircraft must be registered and marked with #
  • Basic online test for license
  • 14 or older unless supervised
  • No speed restrictions
  • Operations within built-up areas permitted
  • No operations over people, 30M distance
  • Max altitude 400′
  • Night operations permitted
  • Not specific distance from pilot but must be VLOS
  • No liability insurance required

Advanced:

  • Class G, C-F Airspace
  • Operations near aerodromes with ATC approval
  • Manufacturers declare RPAS safety assurance
  • Aircraft must be registered and marked with #
  • Comprehensive online test and in person flight review for license
  • 16 or older unless supervised
  • No speed restrictions
  • Operations within built-up areas permitted
  • Operations over people if assurance allows, 0-30M from people.
  • Max altitude 400′
  • Night operations permitted
  • Not specific distance from pilot but must be VLOS
  • No liability insurance required

Details on manufacture assurance process are TBA.

Slides courtesy of Calvin Reich via UAV Task Force at the Unmanned Systems Conference