December 27, 2018

New Drone Regulations About to be Unveiled


Transport Canada (TC) will soon be releasing to the public new regulations pertaining to the operation of drones in Canadian airspace. The new set of rules will become Part 9 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.

The recent shutdown of London’s Gatwick airport before Christmas highlighted to many the implications of unauthorized drone operations near an airport. In contrast to Canada, where drones are restricted from operating within 5.6 km of an aerodrome (which includes airports and seaplane bases), the U.K. permits drones to operate as close as 1 km from aerodromes. It remains to be seen whether that country will tighten their rules in light of the Gatwick incident.

Here at home, reports of near-collisions with drones by pilots of all sizes of aircraft continue, with at least one incident of a mid-air collision being documented: the Transportation Safety Board concluded that it was a drone that struck a King Air turboprop airplane on approach to Quebec’s Jean Lesage airport (CYQB) in October of 2017.

“The number of reported incidents more than tripled from 38 when data collection began in 2014 to 135 last year,” Transport Canada said in a statement. “This brings with it increasing threats to the safety of Canadian airspace and to the safety of people on the ground.”

The new CARs Part 9 will continue to classify drones according to weight but will impose tighter regulations according to the weight class and according to its proximity to urban areas and aerodromes. Among other things, the new regulations will require knowledge tests for drone operators, registration with TC of drones, and the display of registration marks on the drone itself.