Transport Canada cancels MAAC exemption for model flying


A sad time for Canadian model fliers and a lesson for model aircraft organisations around the world. The AMA, BMFA, SAMAA etc have to work hard to protect model flying, it was around before manned flight after all. I guess there are two paths available in Canada, MAAC start fighting properly with more people joining to help with relevance or just close it down.

We first reported that there were storm clouds brewing in Canada in December 2022 there were calls to pull that letter down, don’t worry it will be ok.

Transport Canada has not improved safety one jot with this action established model flying organisations really are the experts in RPAS safety. In my opinion, it looks like a money group from the commercial drone world with the ear of Transport Canada has managed to win a divide-and-conquer campaign.

Transport Canada exempted MAAC Members from having to take the RPAS test required for drone drivers and from registering each model aircraft they owned. In their own words, MAAC received an exemption because…


Whilst this does include America with Josh Bixler and Dave Messina all of the conversation we had last night counts at the minute. Please excuse the confusion at the beginning all my fault!

MAAC had been engaged with Transport Canada for a long time before the new Part IX regulations came into force and worked hard to get our members one of the best agreements in the world. Fundamentally, Transport Canada reviewed MAAC’s operations and believed thefms rc jet Exemption plus the MAAC Safety Code form an “equivalence” to CAR Part IX in terms of public and aviation safety and saw MAAC as a trustworthy, mature and safety-conscious organization capable of self-governance and individually motivated rule compliance.

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Plainly the trust was broken and love lost, having watched videos from Bruce and Tim the plane man my understanding is that even control line flying is dragged into this mess. You will read at the bottom of the letter below that Transport Canada does not want MAAC members moaning at them.

Transport Canada has asked that we handle all inquiries on this issue internally, so please contact your zone director with any questions so they can forward them appropriately.

This sort of pandering to TC is what has allowed MAAC to arrive at this place, members should be writing to their elected members of government and complaining. But it looks like its too late.

Here is the letter MAAC sent to members on the 25th of February 2023


Dear Member,

In the January 23 eBlast, we outlined a plan to reauthorize outdoor flying that was suspended in December on a site-by-site basis. By January 31, we had reauthorized over fifty sites. A few days later, on February 3, Transport Canada called a special meeting with MAAC’s Transport Canada Advisory Group and senior management. At that meeting, we were advised that our Exemption from Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CAR) is no longer in effect due to breaches of exemption condition 3, sanctioning fields in controlled airspace without the required written agreements.

Transport Canada indicated that the written notification would be sent to us and initially asked us to wait until it was issued before making any MAAC-internal announcement. They also recognized that our recently reauthorized members might continue flying until MAAC was notified. Because of ongoing delays in processing the Transport Canada notification, we reached an agreement with them this week to notify our members.

Effective immediately, all MAAC members operating Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) must comply with all Canadian Aviation Regulations, including CAR Part IX.

Since the February 3 call, MAAC and Transport Canada have been actively engaged in ongoing discussions to ensure our members can again enjoy the hobby responsibly under a new exemption. We are also working on ways to make life under Part IX as easy and flexible as possible for the members.
More information on legally flying RPAS in Canada can be found on the Transport Canada ‘Flying your drone safely and legally’ webpage.

What does this mean?

All MAAC members flying Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) outdoors must now have a
minimum of a Basic Pilot certificate and comply with all Canadian Aviation Regulations, including CAR
Part IX regulations.
MAAC RPAS sites that are either indoor or have been issued a Site Operating Certificate may continue to fly. All outdoor operations must comply with all Transport Canada CAR Part IX regulations. New Site operating certificates will be issued reflecting Part IX restrictions.
Altitudes are limited to 400 feet above ground level (AGL), and higher altitude limits on either a Site
Operating Certificate issued this year or on Altitude Waivers issued last year are rescinded.
MPPD-15 Altitude Limit Policy is withdrawn.
Where RPAS flying can happen, so can events. We are still assessing what changes might be needed
for fun-flys and contests, and we will ensure that club executives are fully informed as soon as possible.
International RPAS operators are now required to obtain an RPAS Basic Pilot certificate and obtain a
Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) to operate an RPAS in Canada.
The Canadian Aviation Regulations is a legal document that only uses the term RPAS and does not use ‘drone’. The Transport Canada website uses the word ‘drone’ in many of its pages and subsites. These terms are equivalent for MAAC purposes.

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