Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – UAV

The use of “remote control” aircraft (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – UAV) for commercial purposes such as aerial photography is increasing at a rapid pace. Unmanned air vehicles are not constrained by human limitations and requirements, they make it possible to gather information in dangerous environments without risk to flight crews and they can be much more cost effective than manned aircraft operations.

Transport Canada is responsible for the conduct of civil UAVs. It is Transport Canada policy that UAVs operating in Canada must meet “equivalent” levels of safety as manned aircraft. Requirements for the operation of a UAV fall under the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). The CARs are essentially the “rules of the road” for all operations within Canadian airspace. The intent of the CARs is to reduce risk to airspace users as well as to people and property on the ground.

Section 602.41 of the CARs states, no person shall operate an unmanned air vehicle in flight except in accordance with a Special Flight Operation Certificate (SFOC). Section 623.65(d) outlines information that should be submitted when making an application: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/regserv/cars/part6-standards-623d2-2450.htm

The requirement for an SFOC is intended to ensure the safety of the public and protection of other users of the airspace during the operation of the unmanned air vehicle. Transport Canada has to be convinced that an individual can conduct their planned operation safely and is familiar enough with aviation regulations before an SFOC will be granted.

Certificate holders need to be aware very early in the application process that they must subscribe for adequate liability insurance covering risks of public liability as outlined in section 606.02 of the CARs. This requirement will be a condition in the SFOC.

If you need more information, or wish to make an application for a Special Flight Operations Certificate – unmanned air vehicle, you may contact any of the following regional offices or service centres: Regional Contacts