January 24, 2019

New Drone Rules: How They Affect Model Aircraft


As previously reported by eFlight, Transport Canada (TC) has introduced new rules that will regulate what TC refers to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), or ‘drones’, and their pilots. By definition, model aircraft fall into TC’s RPAS definition. However, the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC) expects that its member will be exempt.

In a statement issued to eFlight by Rodger Williams, the chairman of MAAC’s Transport Canada Advisory Committee states, “MAAC acknowledges the significant efforts of Transport Canada to provide a fair and balanced set of regulations for the use of all remotely piloted aircraft, but also points out that due to its outstanding safety record, the intent is for MAAC and its members to be exempted from the new RPAS regulations.”

Although TC has not yet confirmed any exemptions, unconfirmed reports are that members of MAAC who are operating at established model aircraft fields and following MAAC-endorsed procedures and regulations will be exempt from the new rules, which are scheduled to take effect on June 1. Those who want to operate model aircraft and who are not MAAC members can do so, but must follow the new rules by taking the online pilot exam and registering their model aircraft with TC.

MAAC’s president Peter Schaffer told eFlight, “We appreciate that Transport Canada continues to recognize MAAC’s seven decades of safe model aircraft operations, and has agreed to work with the association to provide an exemption that will allow MAAC members to continue operating under its well established safety codes.”