TC Toronto “#DroneTalks”

Transport Canada’s RPAS team has been fanning out to present the new RPAS/drone rules in key centres across Canada to help get the word out.

I recently attended the two Toronto events. One was in the evening and one during the day, with the same Transport Canada team presenting, augmented by our local Ontario inspectors.

The TC team provided a simplified overview of the new rules and the new aircraft regs. If you had not seen any of the new rules, the overview was a great start, but was too simplified in some places.

Some of my notes:

  • About 20 people in attendance the first night, with MAAC, operators and trainers in attendance.
  • Great representation from the RPAS task force from Ottawa and a very knowledge team.
  • It was clear that there are issues wth the Exam questions, including the quality and applicability to the RPAS world.
  • There was clarification that you need to be a Canadian citizen or Permanent Resident to register a drone, but neither are required to get pilot certificate.
  • A City of Toronto representative was there, hoping to engage with the local folks; Toronto staff are preparing recommendations for drone activities in the city.
  • There was lots of discussion on the new Aircraft rules as implemented in AC922 covering operations in controlled airspace, near and over people.
  • The status of MAAC’s exemption. The consensus was that MAAC was going to get an exemption and was only a matter of time.

There was a much bigger crowd at Vaughan the next day and a wider range of questions. Likely 40-50 people, from real estate, film companies, operators, MAAC club members, training schools and even an medivac Ornge helicopter pilot.

Key things that came up during the day session….

  • TC is working with the NRC to develop a New Airspace mapping tool with the ability to show different operational modes at a specific location for both basic and advanced. 
  • As per the CARS: all operations, both basic and advanced, will require a specific Site Survey to be done prior flying.
  • NavCan looking at an authorization app similar to LAANC in the US for controlled airspace access.
  • A bit of a discussion about Visual Observers and do they need at least a Basic certificate
  • More complaints on the exams and questions
  • More clarification questions on the CARs
  • There will be a new SFOC process and AC coming out May 1 to address
  • lots of IT work still needed on the drone portal to match the CARs
  • there was lots of tension in the room as you can imagine, with all the special interest groups and their concerns. That was handled well by the TC team.
  • A new section on RPAS rules being written for the AIM, and will likely be released early via an AC to make the exam process easier.
  • There were comments from some of the training schools present that the knowledge requirements document did not cover all the material on the exams; in effect they needed to teach a PPL course in addition to the RPAS to get students the knowledge to pass the exams.

As part of the outreach plan, the team from TC also offered to send staff to any industry events (with an invitation) to help get the word out and answer questions.

The only issue I really had with both events was that not everyone on the TC team had a good grasp of the new rules and some erroneous comments were made that had to be corrected or walked back. Surprised that they would not all be up to speed.

Slides from the presentation will be sent out and we will post once received.

Keep an eye out on social media and twitter for a #DroneTalks event coming to a city near you.

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