The Canadian drone industry is thriving – and regulations are moving forward rapidly. Dawn Zoldi receives insight into how these regulations are evolving and what next steps are in progress from Glenn Lynch, CEO of Volatus Aerospace.
Start in the Great White North!
By: Dawn MK Zoldi, guest author
Canadian drones are really taking off. Glenn Lynch, CEO of Volatus Aerospace, a leader in Canada’s drone industry, shares an insight into the country’s latest developments in the drone space.
Transport Canada (TC), the northern counterpart of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in the north, published Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) in July 2018, which corresponds to US Part 107 of the US Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) It provides the framework for drones under 25 kg operated within the visual line of sight (VLOS). In contrast to Part 107, Part IX does not differentiate between leisure and commercial operators. This applies equally to both. Another important difference to the US system: There are two certification classes under Part IX:
- basic – enables operators to fly drones in class G airspace as long as they are more than 30 m away from bystanders and bystanders
- Advanced – enables flight within a controlled airspace as well as reducing the distance of bystanders from 100 feet to 15 feet for certain drones and even allows the operator to fly over people, depending on a safety statement from the manufacturer of the drone.
Although TC released Part IX nearly two full years after Part 107 of the FAA, the country has taken a leap forward in regulatory terms. Canada, the only starting point from the US and Europe, has not switched to Remote Identification (RID). Even so, they move into Operations Over People (OOP), BVLOS, UTM studies, and more.
Operations over people. Canada allows OOP flights that comply with the RPAS Safety Assurance Manufacturer’s Declaration for flights over people. This sounds a lot like the Means of Compliance (MOC) and the DOC (Declaration of Compliance) of the US OOP Rule. The US rule published in January 2021 took effect in April 2021 and is still in progress. The FAA published an MOC in Circular 107-2A. Canada currently has more than 300 drone variants on the OOP-approved list.
Night operation. Canada also allows night operations under Part IX, as opposed to a waiver or a separate rule in the United States. To fly in the Great White North at night, your own drone must be equipped with position lights that can be seen by the pilot and all visual observers (VOs) and must remain switched on. The use of night vision devices is prohibited for these night flights.
Traffic control. Another major TC initiative, the RPAS Traffic Management Action Team, plans to conduct a series of trials this year to develop ground rules and best practices for RPAS traffic management. TC has also approved US-based Iris Automation to test its Casia 360 ™ detection and avoidance solution as part of the Canada Pathfinder program, designed to help Canadian companies obtain approval for the aircraft they will ultimately end up in BVLOS -Operation want to use.
Complex operations. For operations with drones over 25 kg or for flights over 400 feet or more beyond the line of sight (BVLOS), TC requires a specific flight operations certificate (SFOC), similar to an FAA 107 waiver. For BVLOS operations, Canada uses the JARUS SORA model to determine the ground and air risk. The SORA is required in the BVLOS SFOC application. (More information on Canadian drone registries and the SORA can be found here).
Beyond the visual line of sight. Currently, TC grants SFOCs only to BVLOS operators in isolated areas that fly in atypical and / or uncontrolled airspace. BVLOS in urban environments, densely populated rural areas or controlled airspaces are currently not permitted. Volatus has applied for BVLOS SFOCs for six trials across Canada with the goal of a national SFOC before the end of 2021.
The big news is that Canada plans to launch low risk BVLOS regs sometime this summer. The routine low-risk BVLOS without special approval is on the right track for 2022. Expect these new Canadian BVLOS regulations to include a specific training requirement. Volatus has prepared to offer this training. It recently acquired a Prince Edward Island company that is also a registered private professional body. Volatus is investing approximately $ 1.6 million in this location to prepare for the upcoming BVLOS pilot training requirements for BVLOS low risk and medium / high risk operations. The first course is scheduled to begin in June and will focus on the training pilots need to perform low risk BVLOS.
According to Lynch, Volatus had a seat at the TC table and helped design BVLOS regs, standards and related training. He says, “We rolled up our sleeves and did the hard work to move regulations forward. We take the time to allow senior members of our leadership team to actively participate in various regulatory working groups. This allows us to influence politics and prepare for what is to come, and most importantly, keep the drone industry moving. “
Volatus doesn’t just advance the industry. You are bothering it. From the beginning it was the vision of Volatus to achieve first a national and then an international presence. The company dominated the Canadian drone scene in 2020. It established itself in the US market in early 2021 and opened its first office in Albany, New York. Lynch says, “We scoured the industry to find companies in key locations with strong leadership and complementary expertise, then rolled up them to create Canada’s largest technology-based drone service business. Today we have offices across Canada, in Bogotá, Colombia. We recently opened our first office in the USA. Volatus capabilities include R&D, manufacturing, commercial product distribution, inspection and imaging services, and training.
Volatus also supports diversity, equity and inclusion in the drone industry by sponsoring the Women and Drones Women to Watch Global Awards program, among other things. The Volatus Aerospace Innovation Team Award recognizes a team, group, company, agency or organization in the drone ecosystem that actively encourages and inspires women to disrupt the UAS industry and develop innovations. “We wholeheartedly see the need to drive innovation wherever we can, and we are looking for various partners in industry and academia around the world to work together in joint ventures and strategic alliances to bring our customers the best of innovation. and to offer services. The Innovation Team Award embodies who we are and what we are about. We’re proud to sponsor it, ”says Lynch. Nominate a deserving team here before May 14th.
For more information on Canadian regulations, see the following three resources:
This is one of 5 articles on global drone regulations. Hold on for more.
Dawn MK Zoldi (Colonel, USAF, retired) is a licensed attorney with 28 years of active military and federal service in the Air Force Department. She is an internationally recognized expert on the law and politics of unmanned aircraft systems, a columnist for several magazines, recipient of the Woman to Watch in UAS (Leadership) Award 2019, President and CEO of UAS Colorado and CEO of P3 Tech Consulting LLC. You can find more information on their website at: https://www.p3techconsulting.com.