Transport Canada announced that it plans to change the rules around operating drones, both for commercial and recreational use.
The rules will apply to drones that weight 250g to to 25kg, are operated within visual sight of the pilot (known as visual-line-of-sight, or VLOS), and are used for any purpose (meaning fun, work, or research).
According to the regulatory agency, the regulations are intended to be easy to follow, flexible, and balanced, while supporting innovation and safe recreational use.
The proposed regulations split drones into three categories based on the size of the UAV, the pilot, and the location the drone is being flown in. Below is a snapshot of the proposed regulations, with each of the three drone classes outlined.
One of the bigger changes expected to come down is a permitting or licensing system for drone pilots. Depending on what kind of drone you’re using, or where you’re using it, Transport Canada will have different tests.
For those operating very small drones or in limited operations, pilots will only have to pass an online exam that verifies they have enough information to fly safely.
For pilots who would like to fly in a more complex operations category (urban areas, within controlled airspace, etc), a more comprehensive written knowledge test will be administered. This test may take place at a Transport Canada office or at an authorized flight school.
The cost of these exams has not yet been determined.
Registration and marking
If you want to fly your drone in urban areas, within controlled airspace, or close to airports, you’ll have to register your drone.
Transport Canada is proposing two ways of marking your drone:
- Very small drone and limited operations categories: Mark your drone with basic owner information (name, address, contact information)
- Complex operations category: Register your drone and mark it with the registration marks provided by Transport Canada
What about insurance?
Transport Canada currently requires commercial drone users to carry a minimum of $100,000 worth of liability insurance. In the proposed rules, both hobby and commercial drone users will be required to purchase liability insurance at these same minimums.
Read Transport Canada’s report on the expected changes here.