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.

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

PNR SFOCs – Checklists are Back

After a period of all regions being fairly consistent on the use of the National SFOC Application Form across the country, PNR has reintroduced a new checklist form that is now mandatory as part of the application process.

The following was received from one of our clients on Oct 19 2018 as part of a recent Standing SFOC renewal application.

We are experiencing a backlog in our processing at the moment and our processing times are higher than usual.

In order to help speed up the review process we ask you to complete this checklist.  This will help with the amount of time it takes to find all of the important information within your SFOC application form.

Your application for issuance of an SFOC for the operation of a UAV is currently in the queue and will be assigned to a Civil Aviation Inspector for review as soon as resources allow.  Please find attached a checklist of required information that the Inspectors will be looking for in order to approve your application.  In order to expedite the application process, you need to complete the checklist prior to the file being considered complete for assignment to an Inspector.  The instructions are clearly laid out at the top of the page.  You MUST respond to every item on the checklist.  Where the answer checked is YES, provide the document name and page number where the information required can be found.  Where the answer checked is NO or N/A, provide a comment explaining why your application does not include the information. Note that each item contains a reference where further information/elaboration can be found.  Additionally, there is a short section of guidance material at the bottom of the document which should clarify some of the more common issues/questions.

Please send this completed checklist to PNRSpecialFlightOps@tc.gc.ca and upon receipt, your application will be assigned to the next available Inspector.  If you have any questions or require clarification, email PNRSpecialFlightOps@tc.gc.ca and we will respond as soon as possible.

Form can be found here:
RDIMS-#14505380-v1-RDIMS-#14495773-V1-CHECKLIST_FOR_UAV_SFOC_REQUEST_EXT…