In December of 2016, Transport Canada released a new set of drone regulations that requires proper training and education for those who wish to use drones for work purposes. The new rules state that anyone who uses a drone for any purpose besides the recreational enjoyment of flying must complete a UAV Ground School Program.
“The people that are coming through our training program are getting a head start in the industry,” says Matthew Johnson, President of M3 Aerial Productions Inc. “We are teaching them about the pitfalls and headaches, as well as the proven successes and workflows to become a skilled and aware drone pilot.”
The regulations outline 61 conditions of the UAV Exemption, which must be met in order to fly a drone, or “Unmanned Air Vehicle” (UAV) without a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC). The SFOC is a document issued by Transport Canada which is essentially the drone equivalent of a driver’s license. “Last year we would frequently hear that companies were operating under the Exemption, but that has become much more difficult.”
Johnson is a strong proponent of quality education, and has been teaching mathematics in Manitoba high schools for 5 years. The student’s in the “Drone Club” at Elmwood High School in Winnipeg would agree! They understand the risks and safety considerations that must be observed when operating a UAV for any purpose. “We have a few students who are seeing the opportunities that are being presented to them and are grabbing them by the horns!”
The opportunities that Johnson is referring to are overflowing in the UAV industry, as new and amazing ways of using this disruptive technology are discovered almost every day. “We are seeing that a huge portion of our clientele are involved with agriculture,” attests Johnson, “but many are using drones in the oil and gas industry, as well as mining, construction, conservation, and many others. Agriculture seems to be the one of the primary benefactors in this area of the country.”
Due to massive breakthroughs over the past few years in battery and sensor technology, drones are providing farmers with valuable information about the health of their entire crops, at a glance! For this reason, they have become much more than a toy that can take some pretty pictures. “The capabilities of autonomous operations are allowing us to do some pretty neat things that weren’t possible only a few years ago!”
Johnson strongly encourages anybody looking at buying a drone for the first time to, at the very least, read the manual, calibrate and update the firmware, and check the Transport Canada website to see where they are allowed to fly. “You have to know the risks before you can take steps to mitigate them!”
Find out more, or Register for a Drone Ground School Training course wherever you are in Canada.