A drone can make a great Father’s Day gift. However, there is much more than just opening up the box and flying.

Small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) better known as Drones have taken off in popularity over the past 10 years. For some cottagers, they are a nuisance and for others, they provide the opportunity to capture beautiful scenery that was nearly impossible just a few years ago. On June 1st, 2019 New Transport Canada Guidelines for Flying Drones in Canada took effect and here is how it will affect flying a drone at the cottage.

 

Who Can Fly

– Must be 14 years old or older and possess at least the Basic Operations Certificate.

 

Where You Can Fly (With a Basic Operations Certificate)

– You can fly it in uncontrolled airspace. (Recommended Resources: https://nrc.canada.ca/en/drone-tool/)

– You can fly it more than 30 metres (100 feet) horizontally from bystanders.

– You can never fly it over bystanders.

– Survey the area where you will fly (take note of any obstacles, such as buildings and power lines).

– Where you can see it at all times, visual line of sight (VLOS).

– Up to 122 metres (400 feet) in the air above ground level (AGL)

– You must register the drone with Transport Canada.

 

What Type Of Drones Can You Fly

– Microdrones (under 250 grams) and drones that weigh more than 25 kilograms do not fall into the basic or advanced operations categories. If you have a microdrone you do not need to register it with Transport Canada, however, you must never put people or aircraft in danger. Only fly your drone where you can see it (VLOS). Always fly responsibly.

If your drone weighs over 25 kilograms or you want to fly outside the rules, you will need to get a special flight operation certificate from Transport Canada before you fly.

 

Before You Fly

– Make sure you have at least your Basic Operations Certificate.

– Make sure it is safe to fly (ask yourself, for example: are the batteries fully charged? Is it too cold or windy to fly?).

– Fly your drone with someone who has flown a drone before.

– Fly your drone in an open space and away from people.

– Fly your drone close to the ground and at a low speed.

– Fly your drone during daylight and in good weather.

– We recommend buying public liability insurance for your drone. However, it is not required. Note that most standard home insurance policies do not cover the use of drones.

 

Penalties for Individuals

– up to $1,000 for flying without a drone pilot certificate.

– up to $1,000 for flying unregistered or unmarked drones.

– up to $1,000 for flying where you are not allowed.

– up to $3,000 for putting aircraft and people at risk.

You could face serious penalties, including fines and/or jail time if you break the rules. If you break more than one rule, you could receive multiple penalties.

 

At first, the new regulations can be a lot to digest and there still seems to be a few grey areas as this is still a new industry. However, by complying with these new regulations and doing your homework, flying your drone can be a lot more enjoyable for everyone.

Basic Operations Pilot Certificate Example
Drone Infographic from Transport Canada
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