1. Is it called a UAV, drone, quadcopter?

The terminology is still evolving, but Transport Canada currently uses the term Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to refer to an unmanned aircraft used for non-recreational purposes. 

A 'drone' is a term common to media, used to group all unmanned aircraft, outside of hobbyist-level remote controlled model aircraft. 

A quad-copter is a type of UAV, much like a helicopter is a type of aircraft.

2. What laws govern the use of UAVs?

Here is a partial list of legislation that both recreational and commercial use of a UAV may be subject to;

Criminal Code of Canada
National Parks Air Access Regulations,
Charter of Rights and Freedoms,
Privacy Act,
Radiocommunication Act,
Transportation of Dangerous Goods Act,
Customs Act,
Tresspass Act,
Environmental Protection Act,
Aeronautics Act.

3. Is a UAV difficult to operate?

Generally, UAV technology is very user friendly, and the technology is advancing every day. 

Though the actual control of a UAV is similar to that found in radio-controlled hobby aircraft, in most cases the UAV controls are even easier to operate. 

Thanks to advances in software, use of GPS, automation, outstanding mission planning software, low-cost gyroscopic stabilization, and even complimentary apps for smartphones and tablets, an operator can gain proficiency and confidence, very quickly. 

Commercial UAV use however, does demand that operation is carried out pursuant to an applicable SFOC, and regulations, with safety being a priority.

4. What is considered “commercial use” of a UAV in Canada?

Operation of a UAV for hire or reward may be construed as commercial use. 

The Aeronautics Act defines "hire or reward" as any payment, consideration, gratuity or benefit, directly, or indirectly charged, demanded, received, or collected, by any person, for the use of an aircraft. 

Use of images collected from a UAV, even without obvious hire or reward, if shared with a client, or potential client may be deemed to be a commercial use. 

A homeowner who takes their own UAV images of their property, and gives the photos to a real estate agent for use in marketing of the property, is considered commercial use, even if no money changes hands. 

Contact us with further questions about commercial use.

5. Can I fly my personal UAV without an SFOC?

Anyone can buy, and operate a UAV for recreational use, subject to the existing applicable legislation, without an SFOC. 

However, use of a personal UAV with any commercial intentions, should not be undertaken outside of the guidelines of the Canadian Air Regulations, under the provisions of a valid SFOC. 

Contact CanFly Drones if you would like to use your personal UAV for commercial purposes.
Penalties may be assessed up to $5,000 for individuals and $25,000 for corporations for failure to obtain an SFOC.  Further, violation of any Regulations or Act may have impact on your company and/or it’s business.  Personal professional designations may incur sanction from any applicable industry associations, and can expose you to civil liability.  If in doubt, contact Transport Canada to discuss regulations and their enforcement.

6. What safety requirements need to be met before a commercial UAV flight?

Public and operator safety are paramount.  No commercial UAV flights can commence before the site is deemed safe. 

Weather minimums
Pedestrian traffic
Airspace classification
Interfering structures
The need for safety observers
Line of sight
Radio interference
Flight duration
Mission planning

and more

... all need to be assessed prior to any mission.

7. Can I fly a UAV commercially over built up areas, or assemblies of people?

Safety is a primary consideration in UAV operation.  Special considerations must be undertaken when intending to operate in, or near, built up areas or people. 

CanFly Drones has policies in place that exceed minimum safety requirements, as set out in the applicable regulations.  Our Flight Release and Site Survey will highlight any limitations, before the flight.

8. What questions should I ask a UAV operator I am considering hiring?

8.1  Do you have a Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC), and does it allow for the specific work we are considering?

In Canada, in all but a few rare situations, a valid Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC), authorized by the Minister of Transport, is required by a commercial
UAV operator.  The SFOC sets out operational requirements and limitations.  An operator may have a limitation of payload able to be operated, so it's prudent that
you confirm with the operator the type of data you wish to collect.

Not all SFOC’s are the same, and not all operators are alike.  Ensure that the SFOC meets your mission requirements.

8.2  Do you carry liability insurance?

Operators conducting UAV work are required to have minimum liability insurance of $100,000.  More commonly, operators are carrying $500,000 to $1,000,000 of
liability insurance.

8.3  What kind of data can you collect, and/or process?

The UAV is only a platform to carry a payload.  The payload is what the operator will be using to collect raw data for you.  Data can be in the form of aerial
photographs, aerial cinematography, NDVI, FLIR, etc.  You may be interested in only collection of raw data, or you may be interested in an operator with the ability to
process the raw data as well (for example, editing of video or GIS processing).  It is important to remember that there are two professions at stake;  a)  a UAV operator
that can safely and legally navigate a platform to allow a payload to collect raw data, and b) special skill-sets (if required) to process the raw data into a usable product
(edited video, 3D modelling, GIS survey or mapping).

8.4  Does your SFOC allow for  to operate where we are intending?

Canada is divided into several regions, and the SFOC may be specific to that region.  Further, there is some airspace in Canada, in which all, not just commercial, UAV
use may be prohibited.  CanFly Drones completes a Flight Release, prior to each mission, so that flight in an unauthorized area will not occur.

9. What type of UAV platforms does CanFly Drones support?

There are many UAV platforms to choose from on the market, and technology changes quickly. 

We can support multiple platforms, as specified in our SFOC. 

Before buying a UAV, contact us to discuss your mission requirements, as we may be able to suggest platforms that suit your needs most effectively. 

CanFly Drones evolves with the market, so that you can too.

10. How do I get my own UAV in the air with CanFly Drones?

Contact us to get started. 

We will determine what your requirements are, and assist you in tailoring flight operations to meet your mission objectives.

11. What should I do if I see a UAV being operated in a hazardous or irresponsible manner?

If you feel that members of the public or property are in immediate danger, you should call 911, and allow the authorities to manage the situation. 

If there is no potential for harm to anyone, but you still have  concerns as to how a UAV is being operated, Transport Canada has provided an online reporting system
More questions?... feel free to contact us.
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