Flying Your Drone Safely: A Complete Guide
If you are into content creation, photography or survey mapping, a drone is what separates an okay shot from a mind-blowing one.
How? The angles and clarity from a drone aerial shot make all the difference. It is challenging or impossible to achieve this level of clarity and coverage from ground-level views.
However, you need to fly your drone carefully and safely.
If you don’t, you could end up hurting others, negatively impacting your goals, and attract hefty fines and penalties.
Nonetheless, with the help of this guide, you will understand the legal requirements, regulations, and safety guidelines, allowing you to fly your drone safely in Canada.
Understand the Legal Requirements and Regulations
Transport Canada and Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) have set regulations that you must follow before flying a drone in Canada.
- Be over 16 years old to get an advanced operations pilot certificate.
- Ensure you mark your drone with a unique code provided by Transport Canada
- When flying Visual-line-of-sight (VLOS) never exceeds 400 feet in the air.
- To fly Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) you must have a Special Flight Operations Certificate for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (SFOC-RPAS).
Failure to comply with these requirements, you risk attracting the penalties shown in the table below.
|Penalty for recreational use
|Penalty for commercial use
|Flying in no-fly zones like airports
|Flying without drone registration
|Violating privacy by recording without consent
|Flying recklessly or endangering people
|Ignoring local bylaws
|Fines vary depending on the municipality but there is the possibility of drone confiscation
|Same as recreational
Adhere to Safety Guidelines When Flying a Drone
You cannot fly a drone safely unless you follow the set rules.
Not because that’s what you are legally required to do. But because it is your social responsibility to avoid causing harm to others while flying your drone.
Additionally, following safety guidelines can help you take better shots because you minimize the risk of accidents or mishaps, which can be stressful and distracting.
After all, you cannot take stunning shots or footage while distracted, even from ground level. For most of the amazing shots ever taken, the photographer has spent hours trying to capture the perfect shot; just look at Joel Sartore’s amazing wildlife photography.
Therefore, to adhere to safety guidelines, use these tips:
- Familiarize yourself with Canadian drone regulations and also the ones specific to your province.
- Maintain the necessary rules for each line of sight, whether VLOS, BVLOS, or EVLOS (Extended Visual Line of Sight).
- Check the battery level a few hours before every flight to ensure it is in good condition and fully charged. Flying with a low battery can result in overheating causing accidents, reduced flight time, inconsistent performance and even drone malfunction.
- Do pre-flight mapping before you fly your drone. This lets you identify potential obstacles, power lines, or other hazards thus making it easy to fly your drone.
- Fly slowly and smoothly so as not to encounter any obstacles or sudden movement which could cause accidents.
- Fly during the day if you can. It will enable you to identify and navigate potential obstacles easily.
- If you need to fly at night, attach bright LED lights to your drone for increased visibility. Also, avoid crowded and residential areas to respect others’ privacy.
- Have a spotter even if you are flying VLOS. A spotter is commonly used in BVLOS and EVLOS because of the extended range and distance the drone can travel beyond your direct line of sight. Therefore, a spotter provides real-time information about any potential hazards on the flight path enabling you to fly your drone safely.
- If you want to fly at any Canadian national park, always have permission first from the relevant authority like the Field Unit Superintendent of Parks. Then follow the set regulations by Parks Canada to ensure you do not risk the wildlife as you fly your drone.
Learn How to Fly Your Drone Safely in Canada
You cannot fly your drone safely if you do not know how to.
Flying your drone safely starts with learning and understanding the dos and don’ts. Not just taking a drone and then trying to fly it like it is a Liftoff®: FPV Drone Racing simulator episode.
And in Langley, Coastal Drone provides a comprehensive drone piloting course.
We also have dependable trainers with the knowledge and experience to teach you how to fly your drone safely.
Furthermore, we stay current on changing drone flying rules and regulations in Canada, ensuring that our training is always up to date.
Let us teach you how to fly your drone safely, whether you are a beginner looking to learn the basics or an experienced pilot looking to improve your skills.