Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Canada releases advisory circular on operation of sUAS

Transport Canada, the Canadian CAA, has issued an advisory circular on the use of small unmanned aircraft, widely known as Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS), which clarifies the related statutory requirements.

Under Canadian aviation regulations, unmanned aircraft may be exempted from operation permission, if they are used for recreational purposes and weigh up to 35 kg. In case a UAS is used for other purposes, an exemption is still possible if they weigh between 2kg to 25 kg and meet a series of requirements – lighter UAS for non-recreational purposes do not need permission to fly. The advisory circular explains the rationale of the statutory requirements and clarifies their meaning.

Among the requirements are the obligation to fly UAS within unaided Line of Sight (LoS); the prohibition to use of first-view devices; the obligation to have in place third-party-liability insurance for at least 100.000 CAD; the prohibition of operating more than one UAS at the same time or using more than one control stations; the duty to operate UAS only in daylight and under good weather conditions (Visual Meteorological Conditions – VMC); the duty to operate UAS below 300 feet and in uncontrolled airspace; the prohibition to operate closer than 5 nautical miles from aerodromes, buildings, structures etc; distance from bystanders, crowds etc. should be at least 500 feet; the duty to minimize the possibilities of electromagnetic interference (EMI), which means operation far from  high voltage lines, Wi-Fi transmitters, transmission antennas and radar dishes; the obligation to have in place contingency plans in case of a malfunction, loss of link, loss of power and other similar instances; the prohibition to use Portable Electronic Devices (PEDs) while operating the aircraft; the obligation to have completed successfully a pilot ground school program and to be adequately familiarized with the operation of the specific type of UAS.

Violation of the statutory requirements could result in a fine of about 5.000 CAD for individuals and 25.000 CAD for corporations, notwithstanding any civil or criminal liability under the general rules of the Canadian legislation.

You can find the advisory circular here and the text of the pertinent rules over there Click here to find a simplified presentation and explanation of the rules for citizens, accompanied by infographics.

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