Drone Flight School (RPAS)

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Drone Flight School (RPAS)

Capturing images and video from angles only available to professionals, and often then only with a helicopter, is a thing of the past. With modern-day drone technology, anyone can capture the most stunning footage allowing them to share with their friends, family, or the world! Whether you are a hobbyist looking to fly recreationally, or you want to be a professional drone operator and fly more advanced missions, there is a lot to learn in order to do it safely. Level Flight welcomes you to the aviation community and our Drone Flight School where you can study to get your Transport Canada Drone License. We are ready to get you set up with everything you need to ensure your drone flying experience is enjoyable, safe, and legal. 

Did you know that Transport Canada technically refers to drones as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems?

 

Welcome To The Aviation Community

As a drone operator, you are part of the aviation community. If you are new to our community please know that we take safety very seriously which is why we have developed these courses. We want you to get the maximum enjoyment out of flying your drone and not have to worry about breaking the rules or hurting someone on the ground or in another aircraft. It is important that all Canadian pilots, whether remote or not, coexist in the sky for many years to come. 

STAY TUNED: Our brand new RPAS course is launching soon!

Do You Need A Transport Canada Drone License?

The determining factor as to whether or not you need a drone pilot certificate is the weight of your drone. Micro-drones (under 250 grams) do not require the operator to register their drone OR obtain a pilot certificate. Keep in mind that the weight of the drone DOES NOT include the remote control but DOES include the weight of anything attached to, or carried by, the drone. 

If you are operating a drone that weighs 250 grams up to 25 kilograms you will need to obtain a pilot certificate AND register your drone with Transport Canada. Which type of pilot certificate you need will depend on whether or not you are operating a drone for Basic or Advanced operations.

Operating a micro-drone might not require a pilot certificate or registration but it does come with some rules and responsibilities including:

  • Never operate your drone in a reckless or negligent manner
  • Always use good judgment to identify potential hazards 
  • Take steps to avoid risks associated with flying your drone
  • Maintain a direct line of sight
  • Do not fly above 400 feet in the air
  • Keep a safe distance between your drone and bystanders
  • Do not operate your drone around any aerodromes, airport, heliport, and waterdromes
  • Avoid flying near critical infrastructures
  • Always stay clear of other aircraft
  • Always inspect your drone prior to flight
  • Always maintain a connection with the remote control
  • Avoid advertised events

Micro-drones are prohibited from:

  • Entering Class F Special Use Restricted Airspace
  • Entering zones where a NOTAM has been issued for Forest Fire Aircraft Operations
  • Entering zones where 5.1 of the Aeronautics Act restricts the use of airspace to all aircraft. 

A Pilot Certificate for Basic Operations allows you to:

  • Fly in uncontrolled airspace
  • Fly at least 30 meters (100 feet) horizontally from bystanders
  • Never fly over bystanders
  • Fly at least 3 nautical miles from a certified airport or a military aerodrome
  • Fly at least 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport

If you operate outside of any of these 5 limitations then you need to hold an advanced RPAS license for advanced operations. 

As a basic RPAS operator, your responsibilities include:

  • Registering your drone with Transport Canada before taking flight for the first time
  • Ensuring your drone is marked with its registration number
  • Successful  completion of the Small Basic Exam
  • Be ready to produce your Pilot Certificate - Basic Operations and proof of registration any time you fly

A Pilot Certificate for Advanced Operations allows you to do a lot more than Basic Operations. Flights conducted under any of the following is considered Advanced and require a Pilot Certificate for advanced operations. 

If you meet any 1 of these conditions, you are conducting advanced operations:

  • Flight in controlled airspace
  • Flight over bystanders
  • Flight within 30 meters (100 feet) of bystanders (measured horizontally)
  • Flight less than 3 nautical miles from a certified airport or a military aerodrome
  • Flight less than 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport

As an advanced RPAS operator, your responsibilities include:

  • Registering your drone with Transport Canada before taking flight for the first time
  • Ensuring your drone is marked with its registration number
  • Ensuring your drone contains an appropriate Safety Declaration for the intended operation
  • Successful completion of the Small Advanced Exam
  • Successful completion of a flight review with a flight reviewer
  • Be ready to produce your Pilot Certificate - Advanced Operations and proof of registration any time you fly
  • Obtaining the required permission from air traffic control (Nav Canada or the Department of National Defence) to operate in controlled airspace. This would be done by requesting an RPAS Flight Authorization from Nav Canada
  • Ensuring the flight is conducted within the operational limits of the drone.

Note: A Pilot Certificate - Advanced Operations qualifies you to conduct basic RPAS operations as well. 

Obtaining a drone pilot certificate is a fairly simple process. Both Basic and Advanced operations require you to write an exam administered by Transport Canada. Ask yourself the following:

I intend to perform basic operations: You are required to complete the Small Basic Exam.

I intend to perform advanced operations: You are required to complete the Small Advanced exam AND complete a flight review with a qualified flight reviewer. Level Flight can provide this service for drone operators in the Calgary area. Note: After completing the advanced exam you will be restricted to basic operations only until you complete the flight review. 

ONLINE DRONE EXAM ELIGIBILITY

Small Basic Exam: 14 years of age

Small Advanced Exam: 16 years of age

Each of these exams is based on the Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. This document details all of the knowledge requirements for each of the Basic or Advanced operations. You must be intimately familiar with the topics discussed within. Transport Canada strongly recommends taking a Drone Flight School course before attempting the exam. Lucky for you, you are in the right place! Our Basic and Advanced Drone Ground School courses are complete with all of the knowledge requirements you need to pass the exam and conduct safe drone operations. 

You can take your Drone Exams HERE

Please be aware that operating a drone without the appropriate certificate carries the following penalties:

  • $1000 for recreational users
  • $5000 for commercial users

If you are operating a drone over 25 kilograms you will require special permission from Transport Canada before you fly. 

Take Flight Now

Level Flight is Canada’s best online ground school. It is our mandate to provide higher quality, more engaging training for Canadian Student Pilots. If you are seeking the exhilarating freedom of flight for a hobby or with aspirations of a career in the skies, Level Flight offers the best ground school experience available. Sign up for our online learning platform now and discover the adventure that awaits you at Level Flight. 

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