SFOC

New Canadian Drone Regulations – Flight Review

As part of the new drone regulations in Canada, in effect on June 1 2019, it is a requirement to pass a flight review as part of the Advanced Operations permit.

The items that must be performed for review are are outlined in TP 15263 Appendix A as per the following:

Pre-flight planning procedures

Knowledge requirements for Visual line of sight operations
Small basic operation Small advanced operation Topics
n/a applies Plan a flight of at least 15 minutes duration simulating a normal operational sRPAS flight which shall, at a minimum, include one (1) take-off and one (1) full stop landing.

The small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to:

  • Provide a satisfactory site survey;
  • Brief flight crew or visual observers of any duties they are to perform or any other information relevant to the flight;
  • Use appropriate and current aeronautical charts and other current flight publications;
  • Properly identify airspace, obstructions, and terrain features;
  • Select a safe and efficient take-off location and flight route;
  • Obtain all pertinent information about local air routes and aerodromes;
  • Retrieve and interpret weather information and NOTAM relevant to the intended flight;
  • Determine the acceptability of existing or forecast weather conditions;
  • Select the most favourable and appropriate altitudes, considering weather conditions and equipment limitations;
  • Determine the appropriate departure procedure;
  • Make a competent “GO/NO-GO” decision based on available information for the flight;
  • Demonstrate that the weights and center of gravity are within acceptable manufactures limits;
  • Determine the impact on their sRPAS operations, of unserviceability of equipment or equipment configuration changes for the proposed flight; and
  • Organize and arrange material and equipment in a manner that makes the items readily available.

Emergency procedures

Knowledge requirements for Visual line of sight operations
Small basic operation Small advanced operation Topics
n/a applies Demonstrate the procedures to be used when an emergency occurs.

The small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to:

  • Describe emergency procedures that apply to your sRPAS;
  • Describe the lost-link procedures that apply to your sRPAS;
  • Describe the procedures to follow in the event of a fly-away, including who to contact.

Perform a take-off

Knowledge requirements for Visual line of sight operations
Small basic operation Small advanced operation Topics
n/a applies Perform an organized and efficient safe departure

The small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to:

  • Complete all pre-flight inspection/checks on your sRPAS;
  • Note take-off time;
  • Use an organized and efficient procedure to take off;
  • Comply with all departure clearances and instructions if the flight review is conducted in controlled airspace; and
  • Complete appropriate checklists.

Manual flight procedure

Knowledge requirements for Visual line of sight operations
Small basic operation Small advanced operation Topics
n/a applies Show the ability to manually control the sRPAS through various stages of flight.

The small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to:

  • Maintain a stable airspeed, cruising altitude, and heading;
  • Navigate by applying systematic navigation techniques;
  • Orient the sRPAS to the direction of flight;
  • Navigate around an obstacle or fixed point;
  • Determine the position of the aircraft with respect to distance and altitude from the candidate;
  • Apply an organized method that would:
    • verify the position of the aircraft
    • revise headings to correct any existing track error to maintain the aircraft’s position due to wind
    • confirm or revise the battery power available at the destination landing point with a degree of accuracy that would make arrival assured
    • confirm current fuel/power levels vs requirements for the flight

Lost link procedures

Knowledge requirements for Visual line of sight operations
Small basic operation Small advanced operation Topics
n/a applies Demonstrate verbally the procedures to be used when a lost link occurs.

The small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to:

  • Correctly program the sRPAS for a “return to home” if it is equipped with that function;
  • Select a power setting and altitude appropriate for the lost link situation;
  • Promptly recognize when a lost link has occurred;
  • Show an ability to regain control of the sRPAS if it reconnects the lost link;
  • Take an appropriate course of action, once link has been re-established and confirmed; and
  • Contact the appropriate facility to provide information on the lost link if needed.

“Fly away” procedures

Knowledge requirements for Visual line of sight operations
Small basic operation Small advanced operation Topics
n/a applies Verbally demonstrate the ability to perform all the needed actions relating to a “fly away” situation.

The small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to:

  • Perform the following tasks without undue delay:
    • Identify and record their present position
    • Identify and record the direction and altitude the sRPAS was last seen travelling
    • Estimate the approximate available flight time that will remain with the fuel/power on board upon arrival at the destination (Example: 15 minutes)
  • Without delay contact the appropriate facility to provide information on the “fly away” if needed.

Perform a landing

Knowledge requirements for Visual line of sight operations
Small basic operation Small advanced operation Topics
n/a applies Perform an organized and efficient safe arrival.

The small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to:

  • Use an organized and efficient procedure to land;
  • Comply with all arrival clearances and instructions if the flight review is conducted in controlled airspace;
  • Complete appropriate checklists;
  • Note landing time;
  • Secure the sRPAS.

 

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