In Canada, the UAV rules are changing, again.
The latest round of rule changes started when Transport Canada, on July 15th, released the draft version of UAV Regulations covering the standards for UAVs and well as for their use in Canada, likely for the next 5-10 years.
If you fly a UAV recreationally or commercially in Canada, you should look at the proposed rules and provide your comments to the Government on changes that you think are needed.
It will definitely affect everyone’s UAV flying and at the extreme, may force smaller commercial operators out of business.
From our research, here’s a top ten list of interesting facts on the Proposed UAV regulations related to commercial operators. Feel free to use in your comments to Transport Canada. The address for comments is at the end of this list.
Top 1o List
10. Apparently flying in fireworks is doable with some planning and testing?
900.31 No pilot shall conduct the take-off or launch of an unmanned aircraft unless the pilot confirms that the radio emissions from the unmanned aircraft system will not activate wireless triggering devices for special effects or pyrotechnics.
9. UAV Pilots need to lay off the bottle for longer. It’s only 8 hours for manned aircraft. Best practice in the industry is 24 hours.
900.17 (2) No person shall act as a crew member of an unmanned aircraft system (a) within 12 hours after consuming an alcoholic beverage;
8. UAVs are going to be segmented via weight in the following categories..
- small (1 – 25Kg),
- very small (250g – 1 Kg)
- and really really small (micro) (less than 250g).
Most commercial operations occur in the Small (complex) Category. Restrictions on where and when you can fly become more onerous than the current SFOC Standing process, and is related to the apparent risk as weight increases, according to Transport. The proposed Small UAV class usage is more restrictive than the previous rules, even if you operated under a Complex Standing SFOC today.
7. UAVs seem to need much bigger landing and take off zones now for small and very small UAVs.
This should really be at the PIC discretion, based on his knowledge of his UAV flight capabilities , flight skills and site requirements.
902.55 (2) No person shall operate a small unmanned aircraft over or within a built-up area unless a site for take-off, launch, landing or recovery (a) is established that has a minimum diameter of 20 m from the point of take-off, launch, landing or recovery.
6. And our commercial flights, in controlled airspace, are so concerning that we need to warn all other manned and unmanned pilots and airports at least a week in advance.
902.58 No pilot shall operate a small unmanned aircraft in controlled airspace unless the following information is provided to the provider of air traffic services in the area of operation at least seven days before a proposed operation…
5. According to the Rationale published with the new Regulations,. the Business impact of these rules on small business is assessed at $848 for commercial operators with UAVs in the Small Class operation in the complex category.
While in reality, the new rules will force operators who want to stay in business to buy compliant UAVs, that TC acknowledges are much more expensive. this makes the impact of the regs to small business on the order of 10’s of thousands of dollars per UAV, versus under $1000.
“Discussion with industry members have led Transport Canada to conclude that mandating design standards for UAs operated in the small complex category is a justified mitigating measure. The UAS operators describe these units as being more reliable, but much more expensive.” (TC Proposed Regs – Rationale)
“The cost estimates for businesses with pilots that would operate small UAs in built-up areas and are not already compliant with SFOC conditions are as follows:
- $500 per year for liability insurance;
- $110 upfront cost of applying for registration marks for every new UAS acquired;
- Aircraft registration application = 30 minutes × Canadian salary average = 0.5 × 25.20 = $12.60;
- $35 upfront cost for invigilation of a comprehensive knowledge exam in order to obtain a pilot permit;
- Time to take the exam (study not included) = 2 hours × Canadian salary average = 2 × 25.20 = $50.40;
- Pilot permit application = 30 minutes × Canadian salary average = 0.5 × 25.20 = $12.60;
- $35 upfront cost for a pilot permit;
- Practical training self-taught summary = 2 hours × Canadian salary average = 2 × 25.20 = $50.40; and
- Maintain records of flight operations: the administrative burden of keeping a flight log up to date. It is assumed that each log entry takes one minute multiplied by an average salary, and an average of 100 flights is undertaken per year = 0.0167 × $25.20 × 100 = $42.00.
The total cost in the first year for this population of businesses and institutional UAS operators is $848 per operator.”
4. If you can’t fly with within the new regulations, it seems there is an out. You can file for a one time SFOC (looks like Standing SFOC will disappear) and instead of the 20 day service standard, you now need to apply fully 30 working days in advance of an proposed operation for permission.
904.02 A person who proposes to operate an unmanned aircraft system for any operation set out in section 904.01 shall apply to the Minister for a special flight operations certificate — UAS with regard to that operation, by submitting the following information, to the appropriate Regional Transport Canada Civil Aviation Regional Office, at least 30 working days before the date of the proposed operation or by a date mutually agreed upon between the applicant and Transport Canada…
3. On first reading, it looked like Transport Canada listened to operators on the use of exsting Small UAVs.
Transport Canada noted in the Rationale section that Grandfathering was available forUAVs purchased prior to December 2017. This looked really good until you read the convoluted fine print. Turns out that you cannot fly a non-compliant UAV where you really need to…
900.51 (3) Despite paragraph (1)(c), no person shall conduct the operations set out in paragraphs (2)(a), (b), (d), (g) and (i) in respect of any system that the operator purchased on or before December 15, 2017 unless the system is designed and constructed in accordance with a standard set out in section 902.72
Reading the really fine print and the secret decoder ring, you get…
(a) cannot fly higher than 300 ft AGL.
(b) operations where the distance of the aircraft from the location from which the pilot is operating the aircraft is more than that set out in section 902.13, but not more than one nautical mile; (cannot fly VLOS farther than 0.5nm away from Pilot)
(d) operations at a distance that is less than the minimum distance from a built-up area set out in section 902.17; (no closer than 0.5nm to built up areas)
(g) operations over or within a built-up area, conducted in accordance with sections 902.54 and 902.55, except operations carried out for the purposes of conducting flight training, research and development, or testing and evaluation; (cannot fly over built-up or Open-air Assemblies of Persons).
(i) operations in Class C, D or E airspace that meet the requirements of sections 902.57 to 902.59, except operations conducted for the purposes of conducting flight training, research and development, or testing and evaluation; (and cannot fly in controlled C, D or E airspace)
So pretty much grandfathering is useless for any commercial type operations, unless you are training, test or doing R&D.
2. One of the most notable items from the NPA published in 2015 is currently missing, specifically the need for a Pilot medical.
The need for a Pilot Medical, highlighted during the NPA process seems to be missing. While currently noted on the current SFOC Application that you can submit one, the need to have at least a Category 4 Self Declared Medical seems to have been taken out, although it may surface during the Pilot Licensing process.
1. Apparently you cannot handover Piloting of a UAV to one of your crew or another pilot in the case of emergency unless you file a specific SFOC.
This seems strange as this is an emergency procedure that we have in our SFOC and practice with our pilots.
900.35 (1) No pilot shall handover pilot-in-command responsibilities to another pilot-in-command during flight unless the handover is conducted in accordance with a special flight operations certificate — UAS issued under section 904.03 and the pilot may conduct an operation set out in subsection 902.51(2).
Here at ckmmphotographic. we are preparing our comments to send into Transport Canada, and doing these post based on our research.
We strongly that both recreational and commercial UAV users in Canada get informed on the Proposed regulations and send your comments to the Government within 90 days of the first publication, or by October 13th or so.
Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations to the Minister of Transport within 90 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to
Interested persons may make representations concerning the proposed Regulations to the Minister of Transport within 90 days after the date of publication of this notice. All such representations must cite the Canada Gazette, Part I, and the date of publication of this notice, and be addressed to Chief, Regulatory Affairs, Civil Aviation, Safety and Security Group, Department of Transport, Place de Ville, Tower C, 330 Sparks Street, Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0N5 (general inquiries — tel.: 613-990-1184 or 1-800-305-2059; fax: 613-990-1198; internet address: http://www.tc.gc.ca).
Ottawa, June 19, 2017