Are non-recreational drone (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) pilots licensed?
Currently, non-recreational drone pilots in Canada do not need a license. They do need to conduct drone operations under a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) issued by Transport Canada. A SFOC application must include proof of training, experience and knowledge as well as insurance coverage. As of June 1, 2019 operators will need Pilot Certificates. Certificates for Basic Operations will require passing an on-line exam. Certificates for Advanced Operations will require passing both an on-line exam and a flight test.
Are there any restrictions I need to know about?
Work and research-related drone operations are subject to Canadian Aviation Regulations, but must also respect the Criminal Code, Provincial Trespass Acts and other applicable municipal and provincial laws. Drone imaging operations always require permission from the property owner.
How long does it take to schedule a drone operation?
Generally, it takes several days to conduct a site survey, research the location, draft a Mission Plan and schedule an operation. But rush jobs are possible for additional cost.
What happens if it rains or snows on the date of the drone operation?
For most drone operations, we schedule alternate dates to accommodate inclement weather conditions.
Can drone photos or video be shot inside a building?
Yes. Currently, a flight certificate is not required for an indoor drone operation where the crew and individuals directly involved in the shoot as subjects are the only people present. We have small, lightweight drones capable of indoor videography in both 4K and 1080p.
Are drones able to film or photograph outdoor events like concerts?
In Canada, non-recreational drones cannot be legally flown over crowds in concerts or other settings due to safety, regulatory and insurance concerns.
Outdoor events could be filmed from a distance by drones as long as the mandated safety buffer zone is respected and the flights are run in accordance with all provisions of the Special Flight Operations Certificate issued to the operator.
Is it OK for recreational drone pilots to provide aerial photos or video for a fee?
No. Recreational flyers are prohibited from working commercially or within a research capacity with UAVs without a Transport Canada-issued Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). As of June 1, 2019 operators will need either a Pilot Certificate — Basic Operations or a Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations for more complex engagements. There will no longer be a distinction between recreational and commercial drone pilots.