Canada to Regulate Recreational Flights Like Commercial


I'm not sure if anybody who is not a member of Unmanned Systems Canada can see this report or not:

So I will summarize:  At a meeting of the International Civil Aviation Organization in Montreal last week, Transport Canada presented a working paper entitled "Canada's Approach to Managing the Risks of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems".  It's only about 4 pages long so not too bad.  But one very interesting statement is made in section 3.1:

Canada intends to remove the distinction between recreational and non-recreational user categories in its accelerated rulemaking strategy.

There's really no detail beyond that.  Does it mean that recreational users will suffer the same extreme regulation the commercial industry does in Canada?  Or does it mean that they will essentially remove all regulation from the commercial side, since there is none on recreational users now?  Or will the two meet somewhere in the middle?  At this point it is not clear, but there's indication that this is intended to happen in 2016.

Ah, looks like this is a public document: (UPDATED BB: to link correct document)

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  • Ok, but just don't get confused into thinking that Canadian rules have gotten better.  The entire premise of that blog post is actually not correct.  There was a lot of excitement about the new rules when the infograms first started hitting the web.  But once the full details were revealed, they have been found to be rather a large step backwards, not forwards.

    The "Exemption" is essentially useless.  It only applies to extremely remote areas.

    And the requirements for an SFOC have become quite a bit more difficult to navigate than in the past.  Commercial operators in Canada have found the reality of the new rules more restrictive than in the past.

  • Developer

    @Tom: We have MAAC here in Canada.

    Robe remember this

    They are just going to call all aircraft RPA and not have a RPA become a UAV if it's commercial. The Laws will then follow as the same as laid out in the linked article. If you have an RPA you can fly unto 35Kg etc, same as now, but you can fly a RPA commercially with rules X,Y,Z so it all becomes legally clear.

  • Hi Rob,

    I guess the fact of the matter is that governments have actually no idea what to do at this point and they are basically all hoping somebody else will figure it out first.

    We are kidding ourselves if we don't think that the one thing they do understand is that these things can cause real damage, both by accident and on purpose (and the on purpose part has them seriously worried).

    From a National security standpoint alone they would really like to see them just go away, but, fortunately for us, even they seem to understand that isn't entirely feasible.

    Eventually, they will probably sort out some workable regulations in the meantime it is going to be "Pin-Ball!" and if you know what that really means your almost as old as I am.



  • Admin

    Do you guys have a Canadian version of the AMA as it looks like you might just need one to advocate for you?



  • Is it just me or does this part of the document contain a "wrong equation"...

    - RPA for recreation = model aircraft

    - model aircraft community != recreational RPA users != RPA industrie (commercial)

    Anyway, I can hardly see a point in restricting the RC community that has operated safely (and improved all the way) for decades just to make it easier for ruelmakers...

  • What are you alluding to about under 2kg?

    I certainly hope that this doens't mean all MAAC members will have to prepare a complicated document, file it with Transport Canada, and wait a minimum of 20 days before each and every flight they wish to take.

  • Developer

    I'd guess they are just going to remove the ambiguity that an RPA recreationally is a 'Model Aircraft' and commercially is a UAV. ie. they'll all be RPAS and then rules will be aligned for commercial and non-commercial operation. 

    Canada has a permissive legal framework that allows recreational and non-recreational RPAS operations under the Canadian Aviation Regulations. An RPA being operated for recreational purposes is considered a “model aircraft” (35 kg and under) and is required to be operated safely without being a risk to aviation safety. An RPA being operated for non-recreational purposes is considered an “unmanned air vehicle” (UAV) and must apply to Transport Canada, the Canadian civil aviation regulatory and oversight authority, for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). As a result of these regulations, Canada has a mature model aircraft community that has demonstrated its ability to operate safely, a growing base of recreational RPA users, and a nascent RPA (UAV) sector in the Canadian aviation industry. Canada intends to remove the distinction between recreational and non-recreational user categories in its accelerated rulemaking strategy. 

    This matches TC current announcements about vehicle under 2Kg being flown for recreation or commercially

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