Category: <span>Operations</span>


RPAS site survey tools for Canada

There are two fantastic tools available to RPAS pilots in Canada. Both have been available since June 1, 2019, and were released to coincide with the PART IX of the CARS taking effect. Both are invaluable to the site survey and flight planning stages.

NRC drone site selection tool

The first tool comes from the National Research Council (NRC) of Canada. Their online drone site selection tool will show most (but not all) of the potential ‘no fly zones’. The tool allows the user to choose between a basic and advanced operations. With the filter selected to ‘basic’, areas where basic operations are not permitted turn red. Turn the filter category to ‘advanced’, and those areas become yellow.

Much of the interpretation of aviation maps has now been done for the user. Some notable items and areas on display for the user are;

  • CAR 901.47 aerodromes that apply to both basic and advanced operations.
  • CAR 901.73 airports and heliports, for which an advanced certificate is required. Note: While most airports and heliports may be in controlled airspace, it is not a requirement. There are many airports and heliports that exist in uncontrolled airspace, and that fact has the potential to cause confusion.
  • Controlled airspace up to 400’ above ground level. Not all of the controlled airspace is managed by NavCanada. The tool also brings in some information regarding the airspace operating authority, and notes to assist the RPAS operator in any special coordinations that may be required for access to the airspace.
  • National Parks which are regulated by the Aircraft Access Regulations.

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Flight Planning for UAVs in Canada

Canadian UAV operators need to conform to the manned aviation system at every opportunity.  The is no industry standard for presentation of aviation data in ground control software (GCS) or UAV interfaces, and manufacturers are left to present information they believe is relevant. The information to present is being decided by engineers and marketing people, not necessarily experts of flight regulations in the county of intended use. Ultimately, responsibility rests with the unmanned pilot to be aware that the data being presented by the manufacturer may not be valid, accurate, or relevant. When a drone flies where it should not, regulators and enforcement will not allow blame to be deferred to the manufacturer (because the manufacturer allowed to drone to operate where it should not); the buck stops with the pilot-in-command!  There are some very good (free) tools available to unmanned pilots to assist in the mission planning and site survey phases of operations.

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How many manuals do I need to fly a…

Recreational drone pilots

In Canada, the quick answer is none.  When Transport Canada released Interim Order No. 8 Respecting the Use of Model Aircraft in 2017, there was no requirement for the operator to have any level of minimum knowledge of the model/UAV being operated.  The operating interfaces of modern recreational UAVs are becoming so intuitive that any operator with a good working knowledge of smart phones, can easily start flying in a matter of minutes from bringing home a new acquisition from the local electronics store.

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Bridging the Gap

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!

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