If you’re reading this, you’ve already done some homework and found out how much opportunity lies in the drone industry, now and in the future. So you want to fly a drone in Canada?
What sort of training do I need?
You also probably know that to fly a UAV (drone) commercially in Canada you must complete some form of UAV Ground School training.
Technically, you can “self teach” the material – meaning you don’t actually have to take a UAV Ground School course, which is offered by several Canadian drone companies. The caveat there, however, is that you must be able to prove that you know, or have at least studied the material contained within the Transport Canada document TP 15263 “Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems (UAV) 26 kg or Less, Operating within Visual Line of Sight.” So how do you plan on proving you’ve studied the material?
Typically, when you complete a Transport Canada registered compliant ground school course (such as the M3 Aerial UAV Ground School), you are given a Certificate of Completion which proves that you have completed ground school training, and passed a final examination to a standard of 60% or more. If you claim that you have self-taught yourself, you would need to provide some sort of proof to Transport Canada that your claims are accurate… essentially, you would have to compile your own course. Not an easy task, trust me. But good on you if you go that route!
What about insurance?
According to Transport Canada, any person conducting commercial UAV operations…
“shall subscribe for liability insurance covering risks of public liability at the levels described in subsection 606.02 (8) of the Canadian Aviation Regulations and in any case shall have no less than $100,000 in liability insurance coverage pertaining to the operation of the UAV system.”
We recommend no less than $2 million of coverage as the costs to increase your coverage from $100,000 to $2 million are quite manageable, and will potentially allow you to complete more operations.
How can having more insurance allow me to complete more operations?
It is often the case that large construction companies, ski resorts, film production companies, etc. will require you to have a minimum of $2, $5 or even $10 million in liability coverage, and that you place them on your policy when you do work for them.
We have had to put the City of Winnipeg on our policy a couple of times in order to complete a couple of our more complex urban operations.
We don’t issue insurance, nor are we affiliates for any insurance companies, however, we have had some poor and some excellent experiences in the UAV aviation liability world… and one piece of advice that we recommend when looking into your UAV aviation liability insurance is that you go with a company that knows what they’re doing!
Many insurance companies will have one or two people who have taken a half-day training course on how to offer UAV coverage… that is not who I want to deal with, and neither should you. I want an expert who can answer my questions now, and can provide valuable advice, and help structure a policy that meets my individual requirements.
What is an SFOC, and why do I need one?
The Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) is a document that enables a UAV operator to conduct commercial UAV operations within various contexts. It is a set of rules and procedures that the operator certifies they will abide by, to help ensure that they do everything in their power to mitigate risk, and fly as safely as possible in all situations.
You do not currently require an SFOC to fly commercially in Canada provided you can meet the conditions of either the Exemption for UAVs that weigh one kg or less OR the Exemption for UAVs above one kg (up to and including 25 kg) and communicate your intentions to fly by completing the Exemption Notification Form found on the Transport Canada “Getting permission to fly your drone” website.
Which companies offer UAV Ground School?
Transport Canada has a list of companies that have declared that their content meets the standards set in the TP 15263 document. There are (or were) 31 companies on the list as of October 2017.
There are MANY more companies that are NOT on that list who are offering UAV Ground School training.
We believe that there is an inherent risk in receiving training from a company that has not taken the necessary steps to get themselves placed on the Transport Canada list of compliant UAV Ground School programs.
M3 Aerial Productions Inc. is proud to be listed on the Transport Canada list of compliant UAV Ground Schools.
The M3 Aerial UAV Ground School is one of the only of its kind offered in multiple Canadian Universities.
Our instructors are experts in the UAV industry, with decades of combined military, education, and UAV aviation experience to pass on practical, valuable information.