News and views
26 Jun 2017

Canadian recreational UAV / drone rules

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A few months back transport Canada created an interim order that really restricted recreational use. Ever since, our friends at Unmanned Systems stakeholder groups have been lobbying to make friendlier rules for recreational use.

The good news is that today our efforts have produced a better recreational flying environment in Canada.

It has just been announced that changes are taking effect. Here are the rules as of June 26, 2017.

  • persons are prohibited flying model aircraft
    • higher than 300 above ground level
    • within controlled airspace
    • within restricted airspace
    • over or within the security perimeter of the police were first responder emergency operations site
    • over or within (simply persons)
    • at night
    • in cloud
  • you may only operate one model aircraft at a time
  • if your aircraft is between 250 g and 1 kg you must keep it more than 100 feet of vehicles vessels of public, spectators, bystanders, or any person not associated with the operation of the aircraft
  • if your aircraft is between one and 35) at least 250 feet from vehicles, vessels, or the public, including spectators, bystanders, or any person not associated with operation of the aircraft
  • you cannot operate within three nautical miles of the sender of aerodrome, except the heliport or aerodrome that is used exclusively by helicopter
  • cannot operate within a within one nautical mile of the heliport or aerodrome that is used exclusively by helicopters
  • you cannot operate inside an aerodrome or control zone
  • you cannot operate within the area of a natural disaster
  • you cannot operate in a any area located within 9 km of a natural disaster

So what does this really mean? Well if you look at the rules before, you will notice right away that the distances you need to keep from aerodromes have been lifted significantly. Have a look at the map below that shows roughly where you are not able to fly in the lower mainland or in the greater Toronto area for example:

Lower mainland recreational flying restrictions pre-June 24th, 2017


Recreational flying areas in the Greater Toronto Area pre-June 24th, 2017

A lot of these aerodromes that you see as red circles on the map above are helicopter only, which makes those red circles much smaller. This means that the most restrictive parts of the interim order have changed and freed up a significant amount of space for people to fly recreationally.

More to come soon, stay tuned.