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UAS Update from CARAC 22 Feb

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I attended this years CARAC session via teleconference in Toronto on on Feb 22. The CARAC Plenary is held once a year and is hosted out of Ottawa, with remote location across the country supported via video links.

The Toronto session was held in a government building on Yonge Street in North York, a suburb on the north side of the city of Toronto.

The Toronto session was held in a government building on Yonge Street in North York, a suburb on the north side of the city of Toronto.

I was there to get an update from the UAS Task Force on the new UAS regulations and when they were coming into force.

Leaders of the UAS Task Force, Ryan Coates and Felix Meunier gave an update on behalf of the UAS Task Force (UTF). They covered a number of points on the progress of the Task Force, the strategy they are working on, and some of the key feedback from the CG1 response.

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Felix’s highlights:

  • Good progress so far on the UAS regulations
  • Want to continue to work together with the industry to keep the conversation going on the new Regulations
  • Will be allowing flexible operations via the SFOC process while waiting for the regulations to be finalized.
  • The TC is looking at modernization framework for all autonomous vehicles, not just UAS.
  • Created the UTF to try something now; bring a multidisciplinary environment in TC:
      • manned and unmanned expertise
      • flight op, systems and standardization
      • airworthiness
      • engineering staff
      • IT staff
  • The UTF is focusing on Small UAS at the moment, but are seeing larger UAS coming forward  i.e. 700kg range.
  • They acknowledge some limitations on ability to do things quickly
  • In each region there will be a UAS hub of expertise with a framework to translate regulations to actual operational needs.
  • In Quebec, a National Centre of Expertise has been set up to provide guidance to inspectors and provide harmonizations of practices across Canada.

 

Ryan Coates added another set of accomplishments so far…

 

  • Transport Canada will continue to underscore the safety aspects and requirements for UAS Operation, apparently there were 5 incidents with UAS in November 2017 and that highlights the safety requirement and the need to mitigate risk.
  • TC has 3 Key Objectives in place for the UAS Task Force
    • Establish safe, stable predicable framework
    • Support a competitive industry
    • Need to balance UAV use with social acceptance
  • TC is looking for expressions of interest to get a few BVLOS applications in trial mode outside the UAV ranges.TC is working on BVLOS with the RCMP, OPP and Paramedics and learning from these organizations experience. 2 BVLOS test sites have been set up in AB and QC.
  • In 2017, Mitigated risk with recreational UAS flyers with new temporary orders.
  • Increased ICAO participation and FAA bilateral councils was well as ARC participation
  • 3  Areas of focus
    • Knowledge of pilots
    • Make products more reliable
    • Manage operational risks
  • Comments on CG1, TC received over 600s submissions from industry members and there were several specific themes from CG1 feedback:
    • concerns on weight categorizations
    • concerns over design standard and manufacturing and grandfathering
    • comments on licensing
    • comments on insurance requirements
  • While there was commonality between recreational and commercial users, TC is seeing an emerging divergence as far as requirements.
  • Commercial users are looking for:predicable, standardized environment
    • better integration airspace
    • want less SFOCs
    • reflect diversity and innovation
  • On the recreational  side, concerns about restrictions may reduce future pilots available and about increased cost of the hobby under the new licensing and insurance requirements.
  • And finally, TC wants to see a focus on standardization and QA on UAS systems.

My comments

On the UAS front, nothing new as far as information. As far as dates, no comments even when asked specifically about implementation dates for the full regulations or CG2. Quite disappointing.

In general, this was a big session covering the whole gamut of operations that TC is involved with, with discussions covering airlines operations, maintenance, rule making, international collaboration to name a few.

There was, obviously, a very large Transport Canada from the DG level on down , as well as international representation from the FAA, EASA and ICAO.

Many large Industry players were in attendance,  from Airlines and Airline Groups, Pilots Associations, Regulators from several countries, Maintainers and Consulting firms to UAS Service Providers and Industry Associations.

In reality, it was clear that our UAS space is a very small part of a much bigger aviation industry and we are currently noise in the general discussion. Having said that, 75% of the people in the room in Toronto were UAS focused and left after the UAS update.

It was an interesting and informative session and I applaud Transport Canada efforts to make the session available across Canada, but unfortunately,  there were a number of issues around the teleconference that proved quite distracting. I plan to attend the session in person next year and I recommend the same to others interested in learning more about TC’s activities and interaction with the Aviation Industry in Canada.

Slides will be made available to participants at some point in the near future.

Later on there was a overview of the key areas of focus from TC this year.

Policy Focus (Minister Garneau very interested in these)

  • Alcohol, drugs – zero impairment
  • Legalization of cannabis impacts on aviation
  • Laser impacts
  • Pilot shortages
  • Flight data recorders; ways to get voluntary implementation
  • SMS – where we are, lessons learned; what are the next steps?

Regulation Focus targeted in 2018 for CG1/CG2

  • Flight Crew Hours
  • ***UAS/RPAS Regulations***
  • Runways and Safety areas
  • ELTs – CG1
  • Winter files/Maintenance/Seaplanes
  • Balance into 2019

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It was an interesting and informative session and I applaud Transport Canada efforts to make the session available across Canada, but unfortunately,  there were a number of issues around the teleconference that proved quite distracting. I plan to attend the session in person next year and I recommend the same to others interested in the session.

Slides will be made available to participants at some point in the near future.

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