This page contains the information that you will need to be aware of to legally operate the Draganflyer unmanned aerial vehicles in Canada. UAVs are legal to operate for commercial purposes in Canada, subject to the regulations of Transport Canada.
Transport Canada is the organization that controls rules and regulations related to aviation in Canada and are responsible for regulating UAV activity.
Definition of a UAV
Transport Canada defines an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle as a power driven aircraft, other than a model aircraft, that is operated without a flight crew member on board. They define model aircraft as an aircraft, the total weight of which does not exceed 35 kg (77.2 pounds), that is mechanically driven or launched into flight for recreational purposes and that is not designed to carry persons or other living creatures.
This means that the Draganflyer UAV helicopters are not considered UAVs when operated for recreational purposes only. As soon as they are used for a nonrecreational purpose, they are subject to the rules and regulations of Transport Canada.
Operating a UAV:
The Canadian Air Regulations require that potential UAV operators obtain a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) before flying. Once issued, the SFOC gives you permission to fly unmanned aircraft subject to the rules set by Transport Canada. SFOCs can be granted as a one time event or for a period of up to one year. Applying for an SFOC is done by sending a request to your nearest Transport Canada regional contact. In addition to including the following information, the request should state that the UAV will be operated within visual range at all times.
- The name, address, and, where applicable, the telephone number and facsimile number of the applicant
- The name, address, and, where applicable, the telephone number and facsimile number of the person designated by the applicant to have operational control over the operation (Operation Manager)
- Method by which the Operation Manager may be contacted directly during operation
- The type and purpose of the operation
- The dates, alternate dates, and times of the proposed operation
- A complete description, including all pertinent flight data on the aircraft to be flown
- The security plan for the area(s) of operation and security plan for the area(s) to be overflown to ensure no hazard is created to persons or property on the surface
- The emergency contingency plan to deal with any disaster resulting from the operation
- The name, address, and telephone and facsimile numbers of the person designated to be responsible for supervision of the operation area (Ground Supervisor), if different from the Operation Manager during the operation
- A detailed plan describing how the operation shall be carried out. The plan shall include a clear, legible presentation of the area to be used during the operation. The presentation may be in the form of a scale diagram, aerial photograph or large scale topographical chart and must include at least the following information:
- The altitudes and routes to be used on the approach and departure to and from the area where the operation will be carried out
- The location and height above ground of all obstacles in the approach and departure path to the areas where the operation will be carried out
- The exact boundaries of the area where the actual operation will be carried out
- The altitudes and routes to be used while carrying out the operation
- Any other information pertinent to the safe conduct of the operation requested by the minister
Transport Canada has the stated goal of eventually “normalizing” UAV operations within civil airspace. To this end, there is a Transport Canada UAV working group. The UAV working group report is available online.
You can contact us if you require more information or if you require assistance during any part of the process of obtaining an SFOC.
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