Transport Canada’s UAV Exemptions

There’s a Canadian Aviation Regulation that says all UAV flights need to have an SFOC or Special Flight Operations Certificate.

602.41 No person shall operate an unmanned air vehicle in flight except in accordance with a special flight operations certificate or an air operator certificate.

To allow some low-risk fights to happen without needing to apply for and receive an SFOC, Transport Canada created two sets of exemption requirements – one for aircraft under 1kg and one for aircraft 1kg-25kg. Each list contains a set of requirements that, if all can be abided by, allow the flight to take place without needing prior approval from TC.

To fly under the exemptions, it’s first important to read the actual exemption documents rather than just the accompanying infographics.

Click here for Transport Canada’s Infographic

While all the exemptions are important, the few that typically trip people up are

– Training
– Airspace
– Aerodrome distances

Once you’re sure you’re good to go under the exemptions, let TC know that you’re going to fly using the notification form. You don’t need to hear back from them before you go but they are using this information to get some stats on who is flying, how often and where. As well as probably checking to make sure people aren’t missing key pieces of the requirements.

So to recap:
1. Figure out the weight of your aircraft
2. Read the exemption requirements appropriate for the weight
3. Take any necessary steps to abide by the exemptions (training, etc)
4. Complete the notification form
5. Go flying!

If you find you’re unable to fly under an exemption, stay tuned for an upcoming blog post on the SFOC process and or check out the one about the future of drone regs in Canada.