How Long are our Courses?

How Long are our Courses?

How long are our Drone Courses?

February 8, 2022

File this under FAQ, but this question gets asked frequently enough that it’s worth a standalone post.

All of our courses are available online and can be started as soon as you register.

Once you register, you’ll receive a welcome email from us that will allow you to log in to our course for the first time.

Once you have registered for a course you will have access to the course material for 12 months.

Additionally, since our courses are all delivered online, you can create a schedule that works for you.

 

“In theory, if you started in the morning, you could be flying your drone legally with a Basic Certificate within the same day!”

Basic Online Bundle

The Basic Online course will allow you to fly a small RPAS in a Basic environment in Canada. This course is composed of just under 2 hours of video lessons and about 1 hour of written material to review. In order to be prepared for the Transport Canada exam, you should plan on spending another 2 hours on exam preparation and document review.

Once the course is complete, you will need to take the Transport Canada Basic exam. Transport Canada allows you to take up to 90 minutes to complete this exam.

This course, including writing the Transport Canada exam, can be completed in about 6 to 7 hours.  In theory, if you started in the morning, you could be flying your drone legally within the same day!

Advanced Online Course 

The Advanced Online course will walk you through everything you need to know and do, up to, but not including, the flight review.  You can use this course if you don’t plan to do the flight review right away but want as much knowledge as possible.

This course includes about 20 hours of video, about 3 hours of written material to read through. Students should also plan to spend up to 4 hours reviewing practice questions. In total, you can complete this course and complete the 1 hour exam in about 28 to 30 hours.

Once you complete your exam, you will still need to complete a flight review before you are granted the privileges of the Advanced Certificate.

Advanced Pilot Bundle

The Advanced Online Pilot course has the same content as the Advanced Online course, but this course also includes the material that you will need to complete your flight review, and the pre-paid flight review done in-person. The flight review preparation should take about 3 to 4 hours to work through.

That makes this course an overall length of about 31 to 34 hours of work, and that should include your written exam and your flight review

Conclusion

Understanding all of the rules and regulations can be confusing.

Let us help you start your training today so that you can fly legally and with confidence.

If you’re not sure which course is right for you, check out these articles on where you can fly with a Basic certificate and where you can fly with an Advanced certificate.

Need MORE INFORMATION?

GRAB OUR Free E-Book

Learn what it takes to get a drone pilot certificate!  Also included is some great information about where the drone industry is going.

Where Can You Fly With A Basic Certificate?

Where Can You Fly With A Basic Certificate?

Where can you fly with a basic Drone Pilot certificate?

February 3, 2022

Understanding the Intent Behind the Regulations

When it comes down to it, ultimately Transport Canada is in the business of mitigating risk. When it comes to drones, TC essentially has several risk categories, and those categories all relate to the weight of drones as well as the proximity to people and aircraft. 

The weight of the drone matters because with increased weight, the drone will have more kinetic energy that can do more damage if something goes wrong. The proximity to people matters because people are what TC is trying to protect from airborne things with lots of kinetic energy. Finally, the aircraft bit follows from this, because they also carry people. Additionally, if a drone hits an aircraft and causes it to crash, then the aircraft is an object that has even more kinetic energy than the drone. 

Drones that weigh less than 250 grams are considered light enough that their kinetic energy doesn’t create a sufficiently high level of risk to require users to register their drones with Transport Canada.

Next up the threat level ladder are drones that weigh between 250 grams and 25 kg. These are heavy enough to warrant drone pilot training and drone registration. This weight category is further subdivided into two categories, and those are based on the proximity to people and aircraft. This is where Basic and Advanced drone certification will come into play.

Finally, the highest level on the threat level ladder is drones that weigh more than 25 kg, or drones that the pilot would like to fly outside of the normal regulations that apply to Basic and Advanced drone pilots.

The geography of the area surrounding an airport may not respect the TC rules, and so the size of the zones surrounding airports may be less than 3 nm if, for example, there are mountains next to an airport.”

Basic Certification

Now that you understand a little more about how and why Transport Canada uses risk levels to determine how to regulate drone pilots, let’s talk about the privileges that come with a Basic drone certificate.

With a Basic drone certificate you can:

  1. Fly in uncontrolled airspace;
  2. Fly more than 30 meters horizontally from bystanders;
  3. Fly more than 3 nautical miles from a certified airport; and
  4. Fly more than 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport.

But wait, there’s more.

Take a look at this screenshot of a map from the Drone Site Selection Tool and you may notice that you are not allowed to fly within about 7 nautical miles to the east of the Vancouver International Airport if you have a Basic Certificate. 

The 3 nm and 1 nm rule from airports and heliports lays out the general framework, but there are instances where these rules don’t pan out in reality. The reason for this discrepancy comes down to a few factors, and those are:

  1. Geography;
  2. Nearby airports; and
  3. Airport utilization

The geography of the area surrounding an airport may not respect the TC rules, and so the size of the zones surrounding airports may be less than 3 nm if, for example, there are mountains next to an airport.

Nearby airports may have the effect of making one airports zone larger to accommodate the paths that piloted aircraft require to safely navigate in and out of airports.

Airport utilization generally creates much larger zones where Basic drone pilots are not allowed to fly because these airports often accommodate larger aircraft, or sometimes just more aircraft, and therefore the airports need to designate more airspace for piloted aircraft to be able to maneuver.

If the rules don’t match the reality, then how, you may ask, are you supposed to know where you can and can’t fly with a Basic certificate?

Resources: Drone Site Selection Tool

The National Research Council has created a Tool that answers the question of where you are allowed to fly with a Basic drone certificate.

When the webpage loads, the default view already shows you where you can fly with a Basic certificate. The red areas on the map are all areas where you are not allowed to fly with a Basic certificate. When zoomed out, this map shows that the vast majority of Canada is open to drone pilots with a Basic certificate, however, zooming in on the map tells a dramatically different story. You’ll notice that for the vast majority of the population centres flying with a Basic certificate is not allowed. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Port Hardy and Port McNeill

   

You can see that the entire area over the town of Port Hardy and Port McNeil, drone pilots with a Basic certificate are not permitted to fly with a small RPAS

Vancouver and the Lower Mainland

    Once again, note that in the areas where the vast majority of people live in Vancouver and the Lower Mainland, a Basic certificate will not allow you to fly your small RPAS.

Calgary

The story is the same in Calgary. Shooting from the hip, it looks like approximately 80% of the city and surrounding suburbs do not allow drone pilots to fly with only a Basic certificate.  You’re going to have to drive well out of town before you can get in the air legally.  Pretty difficult to do downtown Calgary drone real-estate from Bragg Creek.

Regina

Same as Calgary!  Well, at least you can fly in Richardson.

Saskatoon

Same here.  Notice how the Costco in both Saskatoon and Regina is outside the red zone at least?

Winnipeg

So much red.  Have you read the story about the Gimli Glider?  Yeah, you can’t fly there either.

Toronto

Yeeeeeeah no.  Definitely not the CN tower.  You’re going to Scarborough or Pickering to get outside of the zone.

Montreal

Ce n’est pas possible presque partout à Montréal

Proximity to People

It’s important to remember that all of the examples that we have gone through are ONLY addressing the rules regarding flying close to piloted aircraft. This is because the map only shows areas where you are prohibited from flying because airports are nearby.

Recall though, that with a basic certificate you also need to make sure that your drone doesn’t come within 30 meters (about 100 feet) horizontally of bystanders. In essence, this means that there is a 200 foot diameter cylinder centered on every bystander in the country, where you are not allowed to fly with a Basic certificate.

Once you take the “proximity to people” component of this equation into account, it should become clear that for the vast majority of people in Canada, a Basic certificate will not be adequate to allow you to fly your small RPAS in populated areas.

Conclusion

To wrap this all up in a bow, we have reviewed how to find and use the Drone Site Selection Tool and we’ve also gone over how keeping away from airports and heliports isn’t sufficient to ensure that you are flying legally with a Basic drone certificate.

Always make sure that you maintain the appropriate distance between your drone and bystanders! If you’d like to unlock your permission achievement, then we suggest you take a look at our Advanced certificate training course so that you can fly closer to airports and bystanders. Take care and fly safe!

Need MORE INFORMATION?

GRAB OUR Free E-Book

Learn what it takes to get a drone pilot certificate!  Also included is some great information about where the drone industry is going.

Coastal Drone Podcast Episode: Foreign Pilot Process Update

Coastal Drone Podcast Episode: Foreign Pilot Process Update

The Podcast

Coastal Drone Podcast Episode: Foreign Pilot Process Update

Flying A Drone In Canada if you are not a permanent resident, or Canadian Citizen.

The process to get certified to fly in Canada if you are not a Canadian Citizen or a permanent resident has changed.

There is a bit of a stir online as Transport Canada has recently announced that they have changed the process available for foreign pilots.

If you are a foreign operator, meaning you are not a Canadian Citizen, a permanent resident, or a corporation that is incorporated in Canada, and you want to fly in Canadian airspace you are going to want to listen to this episode.

Kate explains what you need to fly in Canada.

How well do you know the Canadian drone regulations?

How well do you know the Canadian drone regulations?

Blog

How well do you know the Canadian drone regulations?

It’s been about 6 months with the new regulations in force. How well does your knowledge of the Part 9 CARs stack up?

Take this quiz on the common regulation misunderstandings to see!

How’d you do?

Check out our Facebook Live debrief for a review of the answers.

Want to continue learning?

Access our training for Basic and Advanced pilots!

UNREGULATED Drones?

UNREGULATED Drones?

UNREGULATED Drones?

DJI’s new sub 250g drone: what does it mean for you?

If you spend any time lurking in drone forums, I’m sure you’ve seen DJI’s new Mavic Mini. This objectively adorable palm-sized machine weighs in at under 250g and is therefore unregulated – or is it?

Folks are stoked about the idea of not requiring certification to operate, or need to register their drone. And this is totally correct. HOWEVER, calling it an “unregulated class” of drones is misleading. There certainly are regulations that apply.

While the majority of Part 9 Canadian Aviation Regulations apply to RPAS between 250g and 25kg, TC still has regulation covering sub 250g RPAS. RPAS are defined as a navigable aircraft, other than a balloon, rocket or kite, that is operated by a pilot who is not on board. Note that the definition does not include a weight class. Instead, this comes up in the definition of a small RPAS; a remotely piloted aircraft that has a maximum take-off weight of at least 250 g (0.55 pounds) but not more than 25 kg (55 pounds).

By that logic, this regulation from Part 9 also applies.

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.

So while a permit isn’t required, not acting like an idiot still applies. Be smart out there, or risk fines of up to $1000 for individuals and $5000 for corporations.

Also, don’t forget there are other regulations that apply to RPAS outside of what Transport Canada mandates. For example, RPAS pilots for all weight classes are required to comply with privacy acts and regulations specific to national, provincial and municipal parks.