While would-be drone operators patiently wait in the United States for final FAA guidelines for commercial use, the Canadian Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council (CARAC) made recommendations last December to amend existing regulations and standards, and also introduced new regulations and standards for safe integration of UAVs into the Canadian national airspace.
As part of the regulations, Canadian pilots will need a written declaration that says they have successfully completed a compliancy course. Canada faces the same challenges with UAVs as the United States – namely, greater use in recent years has caused a push for regulations that will create safe, consistent use.
“It’s a problem across Canada,” RCMP Sgt. Cam Kowalski recently told CTV.
Drones are affordable and accessible online and through hobby shops. Toy quad-copters can reach altitudes that interfere with commercial and general aviation traffic. In Canada, improper use puts you at risk of fines up to $25,000.
Now, British Columbia-based Pacific Rim Aviation Academy has teamed up with Aerobotika Aerial Intelligence to train UAV pilots. Aerobotika is the first institution in Canada to offer training for Transport Canada’s knowledge requirements, and Pacific Rim has trained thousands of traditional pilots and has the necessary infrastructure for training UAV pilots.
“Those using the UAV for a commercial or research purpose require the most training, understandably,” says Kate Kienapple, a commercial pilot and instructor with Pacific Rim. “However, there is still a knowledge requirement for pilots operating recreationally. The goal is to offer courses to meet everyone’s needs”.
Student pilots will learn a variety of curriculum, including standard pilot training, technical specifics of unmanned aircraft, plus industry practices and regulations. Students will also be taught how to avoid potentially dangerous situations and safety best practices.
Upon course completion, UAV pilot candidates receive a Letter of Completion they can submit to Transport Canada as proof that they have met the knowledge requirements for receiving their special flight operations certificate. Both companies say they are confident their combined expertise will lead to safer skies in Canada.
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