Can You Fly a Drone Beyond Visual Line of Sight?
March 23, 2023
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Can You Fly a Drone Beyond Visual Line of Sight?

You can fly a drone Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVOL), but there are laws you need to follow in Canada 

Flying a drone while out of sight or without an observer presents additional risks, such as collision with other UAVs, aircraft, buildings, or trees.

But with modern technology, an operator can prevent these collisions.

Therefore, before you can get authorized and fly a drone BVLOS, you must first grasp the laws and restrictions established by Transport Canada.

Here are the laws you should be aware of, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of operating a UAV BVLOS.

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Laws and Regulations you need to know before Flying BVLOS 

Transport Canada has very stringent laws when it comes to flying a drone BVLOS because of the following reasons:

Challenge Brief description
Vast geography Canada has a vast land with several mountain ranges, lakes, rivers, and extensive forests. 
Diverse climate and weather Canada experiences severe weather conditions like snow storms, blizzards, and freezing rain, making it hard to operate a UAV BVLOS.
Privacy concerns Invasion of people’s privacy occurs when a drone equipped with a camera is flown over their property without permission.
Increased use of drones

More businesses and industries have adopted drones to carry out tasks like delivering goods and inspecting and surveying their property or operations. 

But this has led to strict regulations to prioritize public safety.

Busy Airspace around cities and airports The Biggest risk for BVLOS operations is collision with another aircraft. The areas around major cities like Vancouver, Montreal and Toronto have many small aircraft and flight schools. 


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With this in mind, the following are some restrictions Transport Canada imposes on BVLOS flight locations:

  • At remote locations where there are 0.1 people per square kilometre.
  • A region that is densely populated, with five people per square kilometre.
  • Outside Northern Domestic Airspace airports, uncontrolled or restricted airspace with permission, or less than 400 feet above ground level.
  • Any building or construction less than 200 feet horizontally while above the ground is 100 feet high.

Tip: You can use Aggregate Dissemination Areas to ensure that the population of the areas you fly over does not exceed the density required to pass BVLOS across remote and populated areas.


Requirements to Fly BVLOS 

You need to have a Special Flight Operations Certificate for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (SFOC-RPAS) before you can get a license to fly BVLOS. 

While it is not strictly a requirement, is a good idea to have an Advanced Pilot Certificate

In order to obtain an SFOC  you need to know how to fly a drone safely.

But to get an SFOC-RPAS certification, you must understand and complete the Advisory Circular 903-001 – RPAS Operational Risk Assessment (RPAS-ORA)

The document outlines the danger of flying a drone BVLOS by guaranteeing that you design a flight plan that will not cause mishaps or jeopardize people’s and buildings’ safety and privacy.

Once you have completed the RPAS-ORA process, submit the application to TC.RPASCentre.

Flying a Drone Beyond the Visual Line of Sight

Once you get a certificate to fly BVLOS, you can cover a longer distance than EVLOS(Extended Line of Sight) and VLOS (Visual Line of Sight).

Therefore, you can perform tasks like inspecting long infrastructure stretches, and search and rescue over uninhabited places such as mountains, dense forests, and large bodies of water such as oceans.

This saves time and resources that you would have spent on ground transit or several drone launches.

You can also capture more data with greater accuracy and in less time. This is extremely useful for surveying, agriculture, and environmental monitoring jobs.

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Challenges of Flying a Drone Beyond Visual Line of Sight

Piloting a drone BVLOS is not without challenges, as follows:

Technical challenges

BVLOS necessitates cutting-edge technology, a lightning-fast internet connection, and high-quality communication systems. 

Therefore, you may have difficulty avoiding hazards on time when flying over a region without a 5G or even a 4G network.

Also, the DAA (Detect-and-Avoid) is still limited.

So, it is difficult to identify an object and prevent collision in real time while flying in the BVLOS mode.

Other Challenges

Because of Canada’s enormous topography, which includes massive mountains and dense forests, it is challenging to operate BVLOS.

Furthermore, because the Aviation Authority (AA) has not standardized most regulations, drones flying in BVLOS face regulatory issues.

As a result, obtaining approval from the AA takes time and effort.

Learn to Fly a BVLOS by Enrolling in our Drone Pilot Training 

Even though you can fly a drone BVLOS in Canada in minimal areas, you must have the skills to do so.

You get these skills from a drone pilot training institution that has expert pilots to train you.

A drone training institution should not just help you pass the necessary tests to get certified. 

It should teach you the essential knowledge and skills to use the technology available to pilot the drone safely without hurting people or animals or destroying property. 

You also learn to fly BVLOS while in compliance with Canadian Aviation Regulations and guidelines.

Contact us today to enroll in our training course and get you flying expertly in BVLOS.

Want to learn more?

This content and more is covered extensively in our five-star online drone pilot ground school. We offer both Basic and Advanced online training courses to help you get ready for the Transport Canada online exams at your own pace from the comfort of your home.


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