What You Need to Know Before Applying for a Drone License
May 3, 2023
You're looking to fly a drone in Canada and have your eyes on doing the Basic Drone Pilot Certificate. Where can you actually fly, and where can't you fly?

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What You Need to Know Before Applying for a Drone License 

Having a drone in your arsenal is a valuable asset no matter what you intend to use it for.

Whether you’re a professional photographer taking breath-taking videos or photos of your models or a YouTuber looking to monetize aerial footage. 

But, you need a drone license when flying commercially.

Because, according to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs), using a commercial drone without a permit may result in fines or other consequences. 

So, here is everything you need to know before submitting an application for a drone license. 

Should Your Business Create a Drone Program?
how to visually inspect your drone

Understand and Follow the Regulations and Rules 

You need to showcase that you understand the rules and regulations established by Transport Canada before you can get a license for flying drones. 

These Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) stipulate that you need a drone pilot license if your drone weighs 250g-25 kgs. 

Also, anyone can fly a drone but be supervised by someone with a license. However, if you are over 14 years, you can get a basic license, while for an advanced one, you must be over 16. 

Failure to comply with these rules means you risk facing severe penalties like paying at most $1,000 for flying a drone without a certificate for your personal use. On the other hand, corporations have it worse as they can pay up to $5,000.

Determine Your Drone’s Category 

Flying drones falls into different categories, as shown in the table below.

Drone Category 

Brief Description

Basic operations

You do not fly the drone for this category over bystanders or controlled airspaces like airports or military bases.

Advanced operations

You need an advanced drone pilot license to fly a drone in controlled airspace and over bystanders. 

Also, if you meet all the basic operations rules but miss one, like flying more than 100 feet horizontally from bystanders but in a controlled airspace, this becomes an advanced operation.

Drones that weigh more than 25 kg

You must have a Special Flight Operations Certificate for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (SFOC-RPAS) from Transport Canada before flying a drone weighing more than 25 kg.

Pass the Transport Canada Online Exam 

Passing the drone piloting exam by Transport Canada brings you closer to finally getting a license

But for every level, you need to pass an exam, which you can easily do by attending a drone flight school like Coastal Drone.

For example, you must take a Small Basic Exam to use your drone for basic operations. It has 35 multiple exams with 90 minutes to complete, and you need to have a score of over 65% to pass it. 

As for the advanced operations, you need to pass the Small Advanced Exam. Unlike the basic exam, this one has 50 multiple-choice questions, with 60 minutes to complete and a score of 80% higher to get a pass. 

However, Transport Canada makes it easy for you to pass these exams. If you fail one of the tests, you can only retake it after 24 hours. Also, you can redo the exam as many times as possible until you finally pass the exam. 

Remember, passing these exams should not be all about meeting the regulatory requirements–getting a drone license. It should be the satisfaction of mastering a new skill. 


Because if you enjoy photography as a hobby or a career, there is something incredibly satisfying about controlling a flying machine while taking aerial shots of tropical beaches and snow-capped mountains. 

You’ll also explore your creativity while you showcase your talents to the world.

Enroll in Drone Pilot Training to Get a License 

You must enroll in a reputable institution to get a pilot license to fly your drone commercially. 

Attending a drone pilot training institution lets you learn to fly a drone safely and legally as you understand all the regulations and develop and improve your piloting skills. 

But wait, there is more. 

Learning from experts helps you learn basic techniques to more advanced maneuvers. You also get to boost your credibility, which helps you attract more clients if you are a freelancer, enabling you to stand out in a crowded marketplace.

Also, a respectable drone pilot training institution follows all the regulations set by Transport Canada. 

Because if you don’t fly your drone while adhering to the regulations set, you risk facing legal consequences. 

Get in touch with us so that we can discuss which category of drone operation suits you to ensure you get the right skills.

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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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