Yes it is true!
DJI announces many Drone models comply with regulations!
Good news for the Canadian Drone industry today!!
If you are one of the thousands of people in Canada who currently own and operate a DJI platform, you can finally take a deep breath and relax!
You may have been nervous about the new Transport Canada RPAS (remotely piloted aircraft systems) Regulations that were released on January 9th, 2019 that required all drone pilots wishing to operate their system (provided it is between 250g and 25kg) in controlled airspace to use a compliant drone.
What are the compliant drones in Canada?
Transport Canada has a fairly exclusive list of manufacturer self-declared “SAFE” drones that are approved for advanced operations, of which there are three categories. You can find the list of drones approved for the various levels of Advanced Operations here.
The three levels of compliance are:
Operations within controlled airspace
Operations near people (within 100ft but no closer than 16.4 ft, or 5 m)
Operations over people (less than 16.4 feet including directly overhead)
In a statement from DJI, they announced that they are pleased that nine of their drone models comply with the latest Transport Canada regulations for advanced drone operations in controlled airspace. They are pleased that DJI customers will be able to use the following systems within controlled airspace, and most of them can also be flown near people as well (make sure to check if your system meets the requirement for near people).
The systems that are now on the list are:
Mavic 2 Pro / Zoom / Enterprise / Enterprise Dual
Mavic Air / Pro
Phantom 4 Standard / Advanced / Pro / RTK / Pro V2
Matrice 200, 210, 210 RTK V2, 210 V2, M200 V2
Inspire 2 Standard / Pro / Premium / Cinema Premium
This is magnificent news if you are a DJI owner who happens to be using one of the systems listen on that list. Especially since this now provides a low-cost alternative to some of the excessively expensive platforms that are currently situated on the list of drones approved for Advanced Operation either within controlled airspace, near people, or over people (or all three)… most of which are over $15,000 CAD. With this announcement, owners of the DJI Spark, which costs less than $1,000 CAD will now be able to operate in controlled airspace, provided they follow all of the other regulations specific for Advanced Operations (and the general provisions) outlined in Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.
If you own one of the systems on the list, you should be thinking about the next steps now…
Where can I take RPAS Ground School (Advanced Drone Training) to obtain my Advanced Operations Pilot Certificate from Transport Canada?
We’re glad you asked! M3 Drone Training Zone offers both live webinars and self-learning Ground School courses.
Also, once you have completed your Advanced Exam, you will be required to register your drone, and then undergo a practical Flight Review assessment. We have Flight Reviewers set up all across Canada in major hubs, including Edmonton, Calgary, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Winnipeg and Moncton. You can find out more here!
What does this mean if you are currently using a DJI platform, but not one of the systems indicated on the list?
You might want to hold your breath a little longer, as DJI may end up getting some of their other systems added to the list, however, at this time, it does not look very likely that their older models will make the cut. It means that if you want to still operate your Phantom 2 Vision Plus or Inspire 1 platform (for example), you will need to operate in Class G uncontrolled airspace, at least 100ft away from people who are not part of the operation. That may be a problem in some areas of the country, such as southeastern Ontario, where finding uncontrolled airspace can be difficult, but in other areas of the country, such as Atlantic Canada, across most of the Prairies, most of British Columbia and the Northern Territories (basically everywhere except southeastern Ontario…!) it shouldn’t present too much of an issue to find an area that is in uncontrolled airspace to fly your aircraft.
And if you need a drone for your business, which happens to be mostly located in controlled airspace, now you’ll be able to add to your fleet with systems starting at or just under $1,000 CAD, which is a MUCH better situation than we found ourselves in yesterday!