How to get a drone pilot certificate from Transport Canada

How to get a drone pilot certificate from Transport Canada

Want to fly drones in Canada – legally? You’ll must get a drone pilot certificates from Transport Canada, which is the division inside the Government of Canada accountable for creating rules, insurance policies and companies of associated to air transportation (together with drones!) in Canada. 

AlteX Transport Canada drone pilot training license

No matter who you might be — a interest drone pilot or a industrial drone pilot — all folks working a drone in candidate should carry a sound drone pilot certificates issued by Transport Canada always (both printed out or capable of be proven electronically, comparable to on a cellphone) whereas working their drone. But the kind of operation is determined by the extent of complexity of your flight. Transport Canada breaks down their drone pilot certificates into two classes: Basic and Advanced.

Unlike the Federal Aviation Administration’s breakdown of drone flights within the U.S., the place flights are categorized based mostly on leisure versus industrial pilots (principally, ‘are you earning money or not?’), Canada breaks down the extent of licensing you want based mostly on how complicated your flight is. In the U.S., folks flying for pay want a Part 107 Drone Pilot Certificate. In the U.S., folks flying totally free typically simply must register their drone.

And in quite a lot of methods, the Transport Canada drone licensing course of is smart. Someone flying for pay in an empty discipline with a small drone in your web site always just isn’t as dangerous as somebody flying ‘for enjoyable’ a heavy drone round buildings in a crowded metropolis. Whether or not you’re getting paid seemingly shouldn’t make a distinction — which is the logic behind the Transport Canada drone guidelines.

Basic drone flight operations in Canada

Basic is the simpler of the tiers of flight with the intention to legally fly drones in Canada.

What forms of flight rely as ‘primary drone flight operations’ in Canada?

Basic drone flight operations in Canada are drone flights that meet all 5 of the under circumstances:

  • You fly in uncontrolled airspace.
  • You fly greater than 30 meters (100 toes) horizontally from bystanders.
  • You by no means fly over bystanders.
  • You keep at the very least 3 nautical miles from licensed airports and/or army aerodromes.
  • You keep at the very least 1 nautical mile from licensed heliports.

Even for those who fail to fulfill simply a type of circumstances, your flight is taken into account a sophisticated operation.

What does Transport Canada require to legally fly beneath the fundamental drone operations guidelines?

For basic operations, it’s straightforward! Simply take the online exam. Once you do, you’ll routinely obtain your Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations, which you’ll be able to obtain and save digitally or print a digital copy (you might be requested to indicate it to authorities at any time) by the Drone Management Portal.

You’ll additionally must register your drone with Transport Canada and make sure that quantity is marked on it earlier than flight.

When does my Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations expire?

Your certificates is legitimate for 2 years. Every 24 months, you’ll want to finish one of many following recency necessities:

  • Re-taking and passing both the Basic or Advanced Knowledge examination;
  • Successfully passing a flight overview ; or
  • Completing any one of many following coaching actions:
    • attendance at a security seminar endorsed by Transport Canada Aviation;
    • completion of an drone recurrent coaching program from a drone flight faculty; or
    • completion of a Transport Canada endorsed self-paced study program

Advanced drone flight operations in Canada

Advanced drone flight operations require extra intensive coaching, but in addition unlock the power to fly drones in considerably extra locations and beneath extra circumstances.

What forms of flight rely as ‘superior drone flight operations’ in Canada?

If you might be flying in any of the under circumstances whereas in Canada, you’re conducting superior operations:

  • You fly in managed airspace.
  • You fly over bystanders.
  • You fly inside 30 meters (100 toes) of bystanders (measured horizontally).
  • You fly inside 3 nautical miles of a licensed airport or a army aerodrome.
  • You fly inside 1 nautical mile of a licensed heliport.

What does Transport Canada require to legally fly beneath the superior drone operations guidelines?

Unsurprisingly, it takes a good (although not inconceivable or unreasonable) quantity of effort and time with the intention to fly drones beneath Transport Canada’s superior guidelines.

For starters, you’ll must register your drone with Transport Canada and mark that registration quantity clearly on the drone.

You’ll additionally must be sure you fly the proper kind of drone that meets the protection necessities for operation. Check out Transport Canada’s information to choosing the right drone earlier than you fly. You’ll want to make sure your drone has the suitable Safety declaration for the supposed operation.

Passing the Transport Canada drone examination and flight overview

And now for probably the most onerous a part of the method to legally fly drones beneath the superior drone operations guidelines.

You’ll must cross each the Small Advanced Exam, AND cross a flight review with a flight reviewer.

Small Advanced Exam: The Small Advanced Exam is a 50 query, a number of alternative check. You have 60 minutes to finish the examination, and also you’ll want a rating of 80% or larger to a cross.

Luckily, the examination may be taken on-line and solely prices $10 to take. If you fail the net examination, you have to wait 24 hours earlier than making an attempt once more. You can re-take it as many occasions as you would like.

That stated, the check is pretty troublesome and can’t be handed on frequent sense alongside. Test subject embody flight concept, airframes, flight devices, meteorology, air legislation and extra.

To keep away from having to retake the check (and re-pay $10 each time), it’s finest to join an internet examine course. I like to recommend the AlteX Drone Ground School, which covers all of these subjects by each self-paced studying and stay webinars, so you’ll be able to take in the knowledge by your most popular studying fashion. Their course prices $195.

Flight overview: Once you cross the written check, you’ll be able to transfer onto the flight overview by a self-declared drone flight school, upon which your flight reviewer will assess your capability to function your drone safely.

The in-person flight overview goes over subjects together with flight setup, flight devices, maneuvers, clever flight options, find out how to report flights and extra. If you occur to be in southern Ontario, I like to recommend AlteX, which makes issues headache free by additionally providing 3-hour periods of in-person, drone flight training at $295 — all however guaranteeing you’ll cross the true flight overview.

You can see the full list of approved flight schools to undergo your flight review here. And sure, AlteX is likely one of the authorised drone flight colleges for drone flight reviews.

Prices for the flight overview are set by every faculty, although AlteX’s is $245.

Once you’ve got handed each, you’ll be able to fly inside the operational limits of your drone so long as you’ll be able to present proof of your certificates and registration, and also you’ve additionally acquired permission from air site visitors management (NAV CANADA or the Department of National Defence) for those who’re flying in managed airspace. To do this, you’ll be able to request an RPAS Flight Authorization from NAV CANADA.

If you’ve got a Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations, you do not want a Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations to conduct primary operations.

DJI Mavic Mini unboxing
Micro-drones (such because the under-250 gram Mavic Mini from DJI) don’t should be registered or flown by a licensed operator beneath Transport Canada guidelines.

Exceptions for those who’re flying a micro drone (drones beneath 250 grams)

If your drone is beneath 250 grams, excellent news! You don’t must register or get a drone pilot certificates in any respect. That’s a reduction for a lot of FPV racing pilots whose drones are sometimes extraordinarily mild, in addition to the generally-hobby-oriented drone pilots flying smaller drones such because the DJI Mini 2, in addition to these low-cost toy drones for kids. Really the one requirement is to make use of frequent sense.

“You should not function your drone in a reckless or negligent method as to hazard or be prone to endanger aviation security or the protection of anybody,” in response to Transport Canada.

Have you gotten a drone pilot license from Transport Canada? What expertise do you’ve got? Share your recommendation for others within the feedback under!