FAQ: Can I use my DJI Mini 3 in an Advanced Flight Review?
It’s no secret that the DJI Mini series is one of the most popular models of drone on the market today, so many pilots opt for a DJI Mini Series Drone for their first drone. Pilots who want to get an Advanced Certificate may want to use their trusty Mini, so the question is;
Can a DJI Mini 1, 2, 3 or 4 be used for the Advanced Flight Review?
The answer, much like the colour of the mini, is a pleasing gray.
In order to conduct an In-Person Flight Review with a DJI Mini Series drone (or any other Micro Drone), a pilot must do the following
- Add a small amount of weight to the drone to put it over the 250-gram threshold
- Register the Drone on Transport Canada’s Drone Management Portal
- If the Mini does not hold a Safety Assurance Declaration – Complete the flight review in uncontrolled airspace and more than 100 feet away from people
- After passing the review, remove the extra weight from the drone – enjoy the advantages gained from flying a sub-250-gram drone, and the knowledge and experience gained from becoming an Advanced Drone Pilot!
There’s the answer to the question. If you’re interested in the regulations and framework behind the answer, read on!
Looking to Book your Advanced Flight Review?
Click here to learn more about our Advanced Drone Pilot Certification courses and take your drone journey to the next level!
Minis Out of the Box
DJI Mini Series Drones are all under 250 grams out of the box. This gives them certain advantages regarding navigating airspace permissions and flying near people. However, drones under 250 grams cannot be registered on Transport Canada’s Drone Management Portal.
Standard 921.06 States:
Before conducting a flight review …the flight reviewer shall verify:
(c) that the candidate has
- (i) registered the RPA in accordance with section 901.02 of the CARs, …
For Pilots of Minis, this means a stock model is not eligible for the flight review. However, a drone over 250 grams not only can be registered but MUST be registered.
The Drone Being Registered is The only requirement for an aircraft to be used in a Flight Review. A Flight Feview does NOT require a drone that is capable of advanced operations unless the flight review is in controlled airspace, or conducted within 100’ horizontally of bystanders.
Further, if your review is to be conducted in controlled airspace, the candidate (Not the flight reviewer) must obtain approval from Nav Canada via NAV Drone.
Making a Mini-Series Drone Register-able
With this in mind, a pilot can make the Mini a registered drone capable of being used in an Advanced Review. Adding a small addition to a Mini, such as propellor guards, an extended battery, attaching a small flashlight or even as simple as taping a few coins to the fuselage will get the job done! Once the addition is made and the drone is over 250 grams, it must be registered on the Transport Canada Drone Management Portal. This is not the end of the process. There’s one other thing to keep in mind when modifying a stock drone.
Safety Assurance Declarations & Where to Find Them
Safety assurance declarations are provided by the manufacturer to detail the situations and scenarios in which a drone is safe to operate. Most large manufacturers will do extensive testing of the aircraft to make sure they meet Transport Canada’s requirements. Installing larger batteries or manufacturer-provided prop guards does not invalidate the Safety Assurance Declaration (as long as you install them per the instructions)
CAR 901.70 (b)
You can find out your drone’s Safety Assurance Declaration on Transport Canada’s ‘Choosing the Right Drone Tool’
At time of writing, the DJI Mini 3, Mini 3 Pro & Mini 4 Pro all hold safety assurance declarations, meaning they can be flown in controlled airspace, and near people.
Mini 1 and Mini 2s do not come with a Safety Assurance Declaration. This does not exclude performing a flight review. Mini 1&2 Pilots can add weight to their drones, and perform the Advanced Flight Review in uncontrolled airspace, away from people.
This isn’t totally dissimilar for all Mini Series Drones. It’s not uncommon for this to be the only flight in which the Mini is operated as a registered drone (unless the pilot is regularly using the extended batteries) After the flight, removing the extra weight will put the drone back into the sub-250 micro Category.