News Flash

Red Deer County News

Posted on: December 7, 2021

Unregulated Drone Use Guidelines

drone pic

Drones, or Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in most regulations, are relatively new and the regulations have matured over the last few years into what they are today. According to Transport Canada, there are three main categories that drones would fall under.

  • Microdrones with a take-off weight under 250g 
  • Small Drones between 250g and 25 kilograms 
  • Drones over 25 kilograms

With the release of the new regulations, more drones are now being produced under 250g to fit into the unregulated category of microdrones. However, this does not mean that you are free to fly and that there are no rules that need to be followed. In this article, we will go over regulations that still apply to microdrones and that if broken can result in $1,000 fines for individuals and $5,000 for corporations. 

The first thing to remember is that a microdrone is only considered a microdrone if it is under 250g at take-off. This means, that if you have made any modifications or included any payload, it may increase the drone’s weight to over 250g, at which time it would no longer be categorized as a microdrone and would need to be registered with Transportation Canada. Any attachments could include a camera, lens filter, propellers or propeller guards, stickers, or lights. When reading the weight of a drone, be sure that the weight includes all attachments so that it does not unknowingly place you over the microdrone weight limit. 

While microdrones are technically unregulated, pilots must still adhere to CAR 900.06: 

No person shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system in such a reckless or negligent manner as to endanger or be likely to endanger aviation safety or the safety of any person. 

This Canadian Aviation Regulation leaves a lot to be interpreted and therefore should be taken seriously as many elements of aviation safety are those that are covered through the basic and advanced operations certificate programs. Therefore, even if you are flying an unregulated microdrone, you should still know and follow the same rules that apply to the other categories of drones. This includes, but is not limited to, maintaining direct line of sight with the drone, flying under 400ft in the air, flying away from other people, flying outside of any aerodromes or heliports, staying clear of other aircraft, and avoiding advertised events. 

Microdrones also must adhere to CARs 601.04 and 601.16 as well as section 5.1 of the Aeronautics Act. This means that microdrones are prohibited from flying in: 

  • Class F Special Use Restricted Airspace (e.g., Bowden Institution) 
  • Zones for which a NOTAM for forest fire aircraft operating restrictions have been issued 
  • Zones in which section 5.1 of the Aeronautics Act restricts the use of airspace for all aircraft

 A new tool released by NavCanada is the NavDrone app which helps with flight planning. This tool can help you identify airspace where you are allowed to fly and is highly recommended as it also serves as a flight log that can be used to show a history of responsible flights. Aside from aerial type regulations and acts, you are also still bound by other rules including privacy and trespassing. So, you should always make sure that you are allowed to access wherever you are planning to fly.

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