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 – Impact on MAAC

As the new regulations that will come into affect June 1 2019 impacts all model aircraft, not just “drones”, there have been concerns raised by many “traditional” recreational flyers in regards to how this impacts Model Aeronautics Association Of Canada (MAAC) members, fields, and events.

As per the new regulations outlined in CG2:

While Part IX of the CARs applies to all RPAS, members of the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) operating at MAAC fields and MAAC sanctioned events will be issued an exemption to certain provisions of the CARs. Under the Act,77 the Minister has the authority to issue exemptions to the CARs; the exemption will be issued to MAAC before the end of the coming into force of the Regulations.

DJI Welcomes Release of Modernized Canadian Drone Rules

January 9, 2019 – DJI, the world’s leader in civilian drones and aerial imaging technology, welcomes today’s publication of modernized Canadian drone regulations as a measured approach ensuring that Canada remains open to safe and responsible use of drones.

“The regulatory framework published strikes a sensible balance between protecting public safety and bringing the benefits of drone technology to Canadian businesses and the public at large,” said Brendan Schulman, Vice President of Policy & Legal Affairs at DJI. “The vast majority of drone pilots fly safely and responsibly, and governments, aviation authorities and drone manufacturers agree we need to work together to ensure that all drone pilots know basic safety rules.”

DJI is pleased that thousands of people submitted comments to Transport Canada to help them understand how drones are being used safely and productively already, and how to integrate them safely into the airspace without unduly burdening their ability to fly. These comments were clearly heard, as the final regulations are much improved from the draft rules.

“Several aspects of Canada’s new regulations are particularly innovative,” added Schulman, “including an easily accessible online test, rules that will allow for night operations, and a framework that will keep drones away from major airports while not simply outlawing operations anywhere near populated areas.”

A key component of these new rules is the Safety Assured Flight Envelope system, through which manufacturers will declare that their drones are suitable for use in advanced operations, such as over people or in controlled airspace. DJI will be examining the details of the SAFE system with the goal of participating in it, to continue to provide leading products for our commercial and enterprise customers in Canada.

DJI supports rules that make it easy for pilots to register with the authorities, as well as educational initiatives to ensure pilots understand how to fly drones safely. DJI strongly condemns unsafe and illegal drone operations, and believes registration schemes, online knowledge tests to educate drone pilots, and reasonable restrictions on where drones can fly are the best tools to ensure drones maintain their admirable safety record.

DJI has led the industry in developing technology to help enhance the safety of drone operations:

  • In 2013, DJI pioneered geofencing systems for its drones, using GPS position to warn or restrict drone pilots from entering locations which pose national security or aviation safety concerns.
  • In 2016, DJI upgraded its geofencing programming to include the capability for live updates of temporary flight restrictions and other changing hazardous conditions such as wildfires, while also adding flexibility for drone pilots with authority to operate in those locations.
  • DJI built automatic altitude limitations into its flight control apps to help pilots ensure they fly at safe altitudes.
  • DJI developed sense-and-avoid systems for recent drone models, which use sensors to identify obstacles and either stop short of them or navigate around them.
  • DJI created return-to-home systems which automatically guide a drone back to its takeoff point if it is low on battery or loses radio connection to its pilot.
  • DJI invented intelligent systems to monitor available battery life and temperature in real time, maintain battery health and warn of potential battery malfunctions before flight.

DJI has helped support scientific research into the risk posed by drones, such as this study, to ensure regulations are based on the best available evidence to achieve their safety goals. DJI will continue to provide materials to governments and aviation authorities for testing, technical expertise or other necessary assistance

New Canadian Drone Regulations – Overview

The following provides a high level overview of the newly released Canadian drone regulations.  These regulations come into effect June 1 2019.

Full details of the new regulations can be found on the Transport Canada website – http://www.gazette.gc.ca/rp-pr/p2/2019/2019-01-09/pdf/g2-15301.pdf

  • Single weight class from 250g-25kg for within visual line of sight
  • Single set of regulations for recreational and commercial use, there is no difference based on type of use
  • Operations fall into two types of operations: Basic, Advanced

Basic operations

If you meet all 3 of these conditions, you’re conducting basic operations:

  • uncontrolled airspace
  • more than 30 metres (100 feet) horizontally from bystanders
  • never fly it over bystanders

If you do not meet any 1 of these 3 conditions, you are conducting advanced operations.

For basic operations, here are some of the rules you must follow:

  • Register your drone with Transport Canada before you fly it for the first time
  • Mark your drone with its registration number
  • Pass the Small Basic Exam
  • Be able to show your Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations and proof of registration when you fly

Advanced operations

If you meet any 1 of these conditions, you are conducting advanced operations:

  • controlled airspace
  • fly within 30 metres (100 feet) of bystanders (measured horizontally)
  • fly over bystanders

For advanced operations, here are some of the rules you must follow:

  • Register your drone with Transport Canada before you fly it for the first time
  • Mark your drone with its registration number
  • Pass the Small Advanced Exam
  • Pass a flight review with a flight reviewer
  • Fly within the operational limits of your drone
  • Requires a compliant/SAFE assured drone (currently most all consumer level drones do not meet this requirement, such as any DJI drone)

You can only use drones that meet the safety requirements for the operation you want to conduct. See tips on choosing the right drone before you fly.

Micro drones (under 250 grams) and drones that weigh more than 25 kilograms

Micro drones (under 250 grams) and drones that weigh more than 25 kilograms do not fall into the basic or advanced operations categories. If you have a micro drone, you must fly it away from aircraft and airports. Never put people, aircraft or property in danger. Only fly your drone where you can see it and avoid flying in clouds or fog. Always fly responsibly.

If your drone weighs over 25 kilograms or you want to fly outside the rules, you will need to get special permission from Transport Canada before you fly.

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.