Transport Canada published new updates for RPAS (drone) systems on January 9th.
The new regulations come into effect on June 1, 2019
Although they are being implemented now, they won’t be enforced until after June 1, 2019.
SFOCs (Special Flight Operating Certificates) will still be valid until June 1, 2019 during the implementation of regulations; a 6-month time frame
SFOCs can still be issued for unique operations during the 6-month implementation period
There will no longer be a recreational vs. commercial distinction. Operations will be categorized as Basic or Advanced.
These rules apply to all remotely piloted aircraft between 250g and 25kgs
Unmanned Aircraft will be referred to as Drones or RPAS for Remotely Piloted Aircraft System on TC documents moving forward
BASIC OR ADVANCED
To decide if you pursue a Basic Pilot Permit or Advanced Pilot Permit, the main deciding factor is the class of airspace you intend to operate in. (It does NOT matter if you intend to fly for fun or commercially)
If your flights will only ever be in class G uncontrolled airspace, you may only need a Basic Pilot Permit.
If you want to be able to operate in classes C-F, you will need an Advanced Pilot Permit.
250G – 25KGS, OPERATED WITHIN VISUAL LINE OF SIGHT (VLOS)
Quick reminder on aerodromes. They are any area of land or water, including a frozen surface that is used, designed, prepared or equipped for the arrival, departure, movement or servicing of aircraft. It includes heliports, airports, bodies of water with float planes etc.
Drone Management Portal – The administration of the knowledge exams for Basic, Advanced and Flight Reviewer will be through Transport Canada’s online Drone Management Portal. This tool will also enable drone registrations.
The drone registration portal is open now but will not be enforced until June 1, 2019
Flight reviewers must be associated with a training school that provides compliant ground school. The next eligible flight reviewers will have to meet the additional requirement of holding an advanced certificate for a period of 6 months before they are able to write the flight reviewer exam.
You will require a Flight Review if you want to pursue an Advanced Pilot Permit to fly in Controlled Airspace (For Recreation OR Work )
First, you will be required to take the Advanced Pilot Permit online exam. When you print off your copy of your Pilot Permit after passing the exam, the permit will be marked a a Basic. Don’t Panic !! You get a Basic Certificate when you write the Advanced Pilot Permit online exam.
When you arrive for your Flight Review, bring along your Pilot Permit , after successfully passing your Flight Review, your passing grades will be entered into the Drone Management Portal, and then Transport Canada will process your grades and upgrade your Pilot Permit to an Advanced Permit.
Expect a few knowledge questions when you show up. Examples:
Determine airspace, obstructions and terrain features and how you came to those conclusions.
How many GPS units does your drone have?
What is its max takeoff weight and is centre of gravity within acceptable manufacturer limits ?
Have you obtained all pertinent information about local air routes and aerodromes ?
A Flight Review can be performed on any RPAS within the 250g to 25kg limits
A Flight Review on a particular RPA system such as a DJI Phantom 4, will also allow the Pilot to fly other RPAS aircraft with their Pilot Permit.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO IF YOU…
…ARE A CURRENT STANDING SFOC HOLDER WITH AN SFOC EXPIRING IN THE SPRING OR SUMMER OF 2019
You probably won’t need to renew (particularly if the expiry is after, say, June 2019) if you get moving on your RPAS certificate requirements right away.