What Does Drone School Compliance Really Mean?
On May 23rd, 2018 new proposed amendments were discussed by Stakeholders and Transport Canada for Drone School Compliance Regulations in Canada.
Notably, the terms UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) and UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems) are being reviewed for a possible change to RPAS (Remote Pilot Aerial Systems). We are in favor of the ICAO term UAS.
Under current Canadian Law, the House of Commons subcommittee on Transport and Infrastructure will have any changes or amendments sent into Transportation Law in Canada
Then we will all see the changes in Regulations in CAR’s and associated Transport Canada documentation available on the Internet at Transports website and in the Canada Gazette.
The Canadian Drone Training Institute has been receiving quite a few requests from across Canada from current Commercial Drone Operators renewing their SFOC that is expiring in 2018.
SFOC Certificate Renewal
Some of these Commercial Operators have held some form of a previous SFOC issued by Transport Canada as far back as 2014.
The Drone companies informed The Canadian Drone Institute that they have been given a 6-month extension by Transport Canada from their SFOC expiry date to complete the TP15263E Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems, operating within Visual Line of Sight to have a Graduation Certificate from a compliant course attached to the renewal of their SFOC. This they have said was from a Transport Canada Inspector in the ON Region
All UAV/UAS “Training Companies” in Canada, including The Canadian Drone Institute, are “Self-Declared” in the eyes of Transport Canada. Let us quote an unnamed source from Transport Canada that applies to guidelines for all “self-declared” or “compliant” training schools in Canada promoting they are “Compliant” with the current Drone training curriculum;
“It should be clearly understood that this action (when a company is added to the compliant training list) does not constitute any form of accreditation, endorsement, approval or certification of the training program by Transport Canada. As a side note, using the Transport Canada logo or stating that you are “certified” to conduct training would not be appropriate.”
Transport Canada Ground School Course
In our eyes this is clearly an indication that no school is currently approved to teach the Transport Canada Ground School Course. We also we feel that this should apply for the associated SFOC; The Standard Flight Operation Certificate that is also changing for when an SFOC will be required.
We feel that the current SFOC application process in Canada, which contains documentation in Air Traffic Law around Control Zones at Canadian Airports, should only be taught by knowledgeable licensed Ground School Commercial Pilot Instructor(s). The documentation process as it stands today will be changing to an operations manual format focused on Safety in Canadian Airspace.
If a Drone training school has a Commercial Pilot or Commercial Flight Instructor on staff with a current Transport Canada license, then yes, we back them for training on the coming Transport Canada Exam. The pass mark may be raised to 80% raised from 60%. The SFOC application process as it stands today may be focused only on complex operations, such as events, assembly of large crowds and operations in Controlled Airspace.
In the last Transportation subcommittee session held in The House of Commons February 2017, 42nd Parliament, 1st Session, the “STUDY OF UNMANNED AIR VEHICLE REGULATIONS: AN INTERIM REPORT” was issued. The report link
There were many recommendations put forth through motions in particular by CALPA (The Canadian Airline Pilots Association) that Commercial Drone Operators must have a Commercial Pilot on Staff to hold an SFOC in Canada. That may, or may not be written in to Law.
Oh yes, we can hear the comments coming from The Drone Community on Facebook in Canada, but the fact of the matter is that the new Regulations in Canada coming this Fall are going to bring us into line with manned aviation regulations in Canada. That is from Transport Canada directly through public documentation.
It is also a fact that remains today that self-declared schools run by self-declared experts are charging exorbitant prices for Ground School only. A second charge is forthcoming from their company or company they are usually associated with for a Student’s SFOC. One company is charging a fee for the ROC-A aeronautical exam for the Radio Telephony license.
Here is an example of one companies fee’s to take the Ground School and their additional Fee for your SFOC. This was taken directly off their website and recently they taught their course in Halifax as well as other Canadian cities.
This is directly copied from another Training company’s website here in Canada.
UAV Ground School (Only)
$599.00 – $899.00
Everything you need to get started in the UAV business in Canada taught in person by industry experts. (UAV Pilots)
- One of the first to be Transport Canada compliant
- All training you need to be compliant
- Valid for the 2018 UAV Pilot Permit
- XXXXXX’s Training Guarantee
- Free ground school for life