MIR AVIATION UNMANNED SYSTEMS
July 17, 2017
Dear MIR Aviation Alumni Students;
We hope this letter finds you well and that the training you received from MIR Aviation continues to contribute to the success of your UAV ventures. Please find below important updates in regard to:
The Proposed Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) were just published in the Canada Gazette July 14, 2017. Below is a brief summary of these proposed changes. I have excluded content in order to give the reader a concise understanding of these changes without having to read the entire section in the Canada Gazette.
The Canada Gazette is published under the authority of the Statutory Instruments Act. It consists of three parts as described below:
Part I Material required by federal statute or regulation to be published in the Canada Gazette other than items identified for Part II and Part III below — Published every Saturday
Part II Statutory instruments (regulations) and other classes of statutory instruments and documents — Published January 11, 2017, and at least every second Wednesday thereafter
Part III Public Acts of Parliament and their enactment proclamations — Published as soon as is reasonably practicable after royal assent
Department of Transport (Transport Canada Civil Aviation TCCA) Preamble Key Points to the UAV/UAS Industry:
1. There are four issues associated with a rapidly growing and evolving unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) industry in Canada:
a. The lack of a mature safety and aviation based knowledge culture,
b. the overarching safety issue,
c. the lack of regulatory predictability to foster further development of the UAS
d. the increase in special flight operations certificate (SFOC) applications that results
in an administrative burden.
2. The Regulations Amending the Canadian Aviation Regulations (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) [the proposed Regulations] would apply primarily to:
a. UAS that include unmanned aircraft (UA) weighing more than 250 g but not more than 25 kg and operated within visual line-of-sight (VLOS).
b. They would introduce requirements for UAS users commensurate to the level of risk of a UAS operation based on the:
i. weight of the UA,
ii. the operating environment and the complexity of the operation,
iii. by distinguishing very small UA (more than 250 g but not more than 1 kg) from small UA (more than 1 kg but not more than 25 kg), operated in a limited (rural) or complex (urban) environment.
iv. They would also set out the requirements in the areas of licensing, insurance, training and manufacturing, based on the type of UAS.
(The proposed regulatory amendment uses the terms “UAS” Unmanned Aircraft System and “UA” Unmanned Aircraft as opposed to the terms “UAV” and “model aircraft” currently used in the Canadian Aviation Regulations.)
3. The absence of a pilot from the aircraft raises important technical and operational issues such as the ability to sense and avoid other aircraft.
4. Many small UAS are relatively inexpensive, require little or no set-up or assembly, and are relatively easy to fly, resulting in an influx of people who are unfamiliar with best practices and regulatory requirements within aviation. As a result, the number of recreational and non-recreational users of small UAs has exploded in recent years, thus raising safety concerns while illustrating the potential of this relatively new and growing aviation sector.
5. Currently, the CARs have separate definitions and requirements for UAS operated recreationally, defined as “model aircraft,” and UAVs for all non-recreational purposes.
6. The intended non-recreational use of the unmanned aircraft is primarily what differentiates a UAV from a model aircraft.
7. Under the current regulations, UAV operators require an SFOC and they must operate in accordance with all of the conditions listed in the SFOC. The conditions are designed to mitigate safety risks to other airspace users (pilots and passengers in the traditional aviation sector) and to people and property on the ground.
8. Operating without an SFOC or breaching one of the conditions is a designated offence under the CARs where a fine can be issued.
9. Two of the identified requirement gaps for both the recreational and non-recreational UA pilots are:
a. systematic training and knowledge standards.
b. due to the type of incidents involving UAS operating around airports and the
lengthy back and forth with many applicants to process SFOCs, it is assumed that
the aviation knowledge level and experience of most UAS pilots are generally
10.In working with the current regulatory framework, for non-recreational UAS pilots/operators, SFOCs are issued on a case-by-case basis beginning with site-specific certificates and graduating to broader geographical regions once the operator has established a safety track record with Transport Canada.
Overarching Safety Issue
11. The exponential use of UASs both non-recreationally and recreationally over the past five years has led to an increase in the risk of damage to property and injury to people on the ground and water, and to manned aircraft while taking off or landing.
12. Risks are largely due to lack of understanding and working knowledge of airspace, aviation regulations, manned aviation airspace users, and best practices.
13. Even with an extensive promotional campaign, it was evident to Transport Canada while processing SFOCs that awareness and understanding of airspace and operator responsibilities is lacking.
14. Ongoing safety incidents involving recreational users suggest that knowledge is also a problem for recreational fliers who are not members of established organizations with education and safety programs, such as the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC).
15. Risk analysis and incidents experienced over the last few years lead Transport Canada to conclude that the risks would not necessarily be attributed to the type of UAS user (i.e. recreational or non-recreational); rather, the higher risks would be associated to the weight of the UAS and to its location of operation.
16. The increase in non-recreational UAS use has also over-whelmed the UAS SFOC approval system.
17. Transport Canada is no longer able to meet its 20-day service standard for the processing and issuance of SFOCs, even with two general exemptions in place against the requirement for non-recreational UAS operators to seek an SFOC provided they meet specific conditions.
18. Operational delays for businesses are having adverse effects on the industry’s ability to plan operations and pursue business opportunities, while Transport Canada’s resources are currently diverted from preventive oversight and surveillance programs, including those for traditional aviation.