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Water Today Title October 25, 2021

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Update 2019/4/14
Drones - Regulations

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By Gillian Ward

Transport Canada is set to launch a new set of rules and regulations for Remotely Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), aka, Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's), aka, drones. Effective June 1, 2019 any craft over 250 g requires a license to operate, no matter the purpose, recreational or commercial. WaterToday went to ground school to find out more.

Landview Drones operates out of Edmonton, offering training for drone pilots, hardware and accessories and a drone's eye view consulting service for clients in the Agriculture sector. In two full days of instruction, including classroom and hands on field training, each participant in the class of 15 took the on-line exam and successfully obtained the Basic level license. With a Basic license, a fourteen year old will be able to legally operate a drone and payload weighing up to 25 kg, in Class G airspace (minimum 5.9 km from airports, heliports or aerodromes), up to 400 m above ground level, as long as the drone remains within the visual line of sight of the operator.

Most of the changes seem to make the Canadian airspace more accessible for drones, permitting younger pilots than previously, allowing for night flying (with conditions) and allowing the drones to pass closer to public events than previously allowed.

The process of licensing will be more streamlined for commercial ventures, with the operator being licensed in one of two categories, Basic or Advanced. Both categories require the drone be marked with a Transport Canada registration number.

Where the previous regulations required commercial operators to submit a veritable Master's thesis unto a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC), the changes streamline the vetting process for many commercial ventures. As long as flight operations take place below the 400 m threshold, within sight of the operator, away from the public and controlled airspaces, the Basic license is sufficient. Only those operators flying outside the Basic license parameters are required to seek the Advanced license, which involves additional training, a flight test with a certified examiner, and operator minimum age 16.

Some drone work will continue to require the SFOC, according to Transport Canada. Under the new regulations, a drone pilot certificate will remain valid as long as recency requirements are met. As of June 1 this year, RPAS pilots need not apply for special permission before each flight. "This approach will provide for much greater flexibility, predictability and opportunity for the drone sector."

"Drones are part of an important economic sector with significant potential to improve lives and connect communities across the country. Transport Canada's new regulations will create new opportunities for Canadians by establishing a safe and predictable regulatory environment where the industry can innovate and where recreational and non-recreational drone pilots can safely access Canadian airspace", says Transport Canada.

The new regulations for drones in Canada that will come into force on June 1, 2019 are available at: https://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/new-rules-drones.html


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