One a sunny day, peering up into the sky, one can see birds, planes and now more often than ever before the occasional drone zipping around. Transport Canada is introducing new rules for 2018 around flying these aerial vehicles.
The current rules in place ensure that drones have to be within the operator’s line of sight when flying.
“So, everything we fly right now is at certain weather requirements, altitudes, certain visibility we have to have, but we’re going to go beyond that soon. Meaning, I’m going to be able to send my drone out to go do something for me beyond my visual line of sight, and I’m just going to help it does what I want it to do. We’re building the technology and proof right now that will in the future provide us with the comfort level to allow drones to go do things for us,” Mike Anderson, Professor at Fanshawe’s School of Aviation.
As Transport Canada’s visibility rules and regulations regarding drones becomes less strict, should all pilots move towards having licenses?Anderson says that is the direction Transport Canada is headed towards.
Five years ago, Transport Canada was receiving about 500 Special Flying Operating Certificate (SFOCs), now they receive that many every week. SFOCs are granted permission to fly a drone under certain conditions, for example, if you fly for work, research or at a weight that is over 35 kilograms.
“More people are filling out applications for how they want to use their drones, at this point Transport Canada can’t even keep up with them, sometimes it takes weeks or months for the paper work and process to be put in place. Now, the major operators who use them daily will get blanket SFOCs, stating that they can use them because they have proven they are capable pilots and have the insurance to follow the rules. They don’t have to apply every time, whereas the smaller people are still going to have to build their credibility with Transport Canada, each and every time they have to do that,” says Anderson.
2018 means licensing is on the horizon for all flyers even if it is just for recreational purposes. Operators are going to need to work harder to build their reputations and relationships with Transport Canada to prove they qualify for flying permission.
If drones become able to do more for the average person, the next question becomes, how lazy are humans going to become?