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.