Canfly Drones will be expanding our blog, offering articles on how borrowing practises from commercial aviation can benefit UAV/drone service providers.
In the early days of setting up a UAV services provider, I learned that when speaking with Transport Canada inspectors, if I gave my brief background as an airline pilot, the pace of the conversation accelerated. A whole different world exists that people immersed in Canadian Avation share. From a common set of regulations (Canadian Aviation Regulations) and industry practises, to a whole new language of acronyms and technical terms, those with the knowledge base are able to communicate more efficiently, as there is no necessity to lay a common knowledge foundation. I remember an instance of listening to two nurses speaking about their workplace. Although the nurses worked in different departments of the same hospital, both were able to fully understand the difficulties and rewards of the others position. On the other hand, I was lost!
As UAVs will be sharing the same airspace as recreational and commercial manned aircraft,, the knowledge level of UAV operators will need to be comparable to the balance of operators. Currently, an educational disparity exists between manned and unmanned aviation; students of manned aviation have typically invested a minimum of months into learning their skill, as a requirement of the privilege to operate an aircraft in the Canadian Domestic Airspace. A UAV operator could potentially be operating in the same airspace as quick as it takes to get to the closest electronics store, and putting down money for the newest offerings from the likes of DJI. Transport Canada has been aware of this disparity for some time, and been trying to keep a level the playing field for all stakeholders. Commercial operators of UAVs have been required to demonstrate an above average understanding understanding of the Canadian Aviation Regulations through the granting of Special Flight Operating Certificates(SFOC), and the implementation of Interim Orders as a stop-gap measure until the Canadian Aviation Regulations can be updated to reflect new technology in unmanned aviation. Read more “Bridging the Gap”
Note: Since this publication, Interim Order No. 8 has been released. This post has been edited to reflect the changes.
On March 17, 2017, Transport Canada enacted an Interim Order respecting the use of model aircraft in Canadian Domestic Airspace. The order is intended as a temporary measure to protect airspace users, and the general public, until new regulations regarding the use of UAVs can be published. This interim order will affect anyone using a UAV between 250 g and 35 kg for recreational purposes. That is nearly all of the consumer grade UAVs available for mass purchase, such as those built by DJI.
For those that operate UAVs for commercial purposes, Transport Canada still has processes in place to govern their use. Those operators that currently hold an SFOC, or operate successfully under the exemptions to an SFOC, can continue to exercise those privileges.
For a UAV hobbyist in Edmonton, options now are very limited. The easiest option is currently to seek enrollment with the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC). Canfly Drones has built a map of the Edmonton area, showing shaded circles around aerodromes and heliports, and also the restricted airspace in the area of Namao. It should also be noted that the City of Edmonton has bylaws to in place that require a UAV operator to seek permission from the city before use of any parks for the operation of unmanned/model aircraft. Therefore, before any recreational flights occur in the City of Edmonton, you would need a very large backyard to satisfy the condition of flying to no closer than 75 m (or 30 m) from any building, vehicles, animals, crowds. For reference, most properties have backyards of between 10 to 20 meters width.
Read more “New rules for operating drones recreationally in Canada”