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We’re still reviewing the new regulations and their impact on our course offerings.
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For all commercial UAV operations, Transport Canada requires that the UAV pilots be appropriately trained.
All UAV operations require that the pilot training covers:
- airspace classification and structure
- weather and notice to airmen (NOTAM) reporting services
- aeronautical charts and the Canada Flight Supplement
- relevant sections of the Canadian Aviation Regulations
The training required for operations under the authority of an SFOC is more specific to the type of the operation and the characteristics of the UAV. We would be pleased to review your situation and recommend a course to fit both the stated requirements and the intent of the TC regulations.
If desired, a day of flight training is available using your UAV for initial training that is 100% applicable to your specific needs. Covers all aspects of operations including flight planning, pre-flight inspection, checklists, takeoffs, landings and basic manoeuvers.
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Commercial UAV operations can be carried out under the authority of a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC), issued by Transport Canada. However, under certain conditions, operations can be exempted from the requirement to obtain an SFOC. There is one set of conditions for UAVs with a maximum take-off weight (with payload) of 1 kg (2.2 lbs) or less and a second set of conditions for UAVs with a maximum take-off weight exceeding 1 kg but not exceeding 25 kg (55 lbs).
Exemption for UAVs 1Kg or Less
If you will be operating a smaller UAV during the day in uncontrolled airspace (Class G), away from built-up areas (and 100 feet from any building, etc.) and five (5) nautical miles from an aerodrome (three (3) nautical miles in the case of a heliport), you may qualify for an exemption to an SFOC. Check the details from Transport Canada. The UAV must remain within 1/4 nautical mile from the pilot.
Exemption for UAVs 25Kgs or Less (But More Than 1Kg)
If you will be operating a larger UAV during the day in uncontrolled airspace (Class G), five (5) nautical miles from built-up areas (and 500 feet from any building, etc.) and aerodromes (three (3) nautical miles in the case of a heliport), you may qualify for an exemption to an SFOC. Check the details from Transport Canada.
Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC)
If you plan on flying a UAV in anything other than uncontrolled airspace (Class G), closer to an aerodrome or heliport or closer to a built-up area, then you will need an SFOC. More information is available on the Transport Canada website.
Aero-Photos training programs have been developed by our President and Chief Pilot, Mike Venables. Mike has held a Commercial Pilot License for over 40 years with multi-engine land and sea ratings and an instrument endorsement. He was a glider instructor for a number of years and ran ground schools for more than one Flight Training Unit.
Mike graduated with a degree in mechanical and aerospace engineering and has worked as an experimental test engineer for aircraft power plants (Pratt and Whitney Canada), an aircraft design engineer (Canadair/Bombardier Aerospace), a flight training simulator project engineer (CAE Electronics), a space systems training analyst (Canadian Space Agency) and an avionics product marketing manager (CMC Electronics).
The syllabus for all our courses is based on the outline defined in Transport Canada’s document “TP 15263 – Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems”. There are, of course, many other aeronautical training references used to round out the material.
Training for UAV operations is carried out in-person in a traditional classroom environment with small groups. This allows for the most efficient knowledge transfer. In addition, students benefit from the classroom environment as a question asked by one student helps all students.
While an exam is not specified, Aero-Photos has developed a series of exams to verify that the learning objectives have been met. A certificate, suitable for insurance and regulatory requirements, will be issued to each student upon successful completion.
Radio Operators Certificate – Aeronautical
While not required, it can be helpful during UAV operations for the pilot to have a radio operators certificate. We can provide the training (if required) and the examination to issue the Industry Canada ROC-A that will allow the UAV pilot to communicate with other aircraft and Air Traffic Control (ATC) units.
All commercial UAV operators must be carry third party liability insurance. This is readily available from a number of sources relatively inexpensively.