Drone Use in Squamish

RPAS (Drone) Use in Squamish

drone

More and more people are using RPAS (drones), for recreation, filming, and special events. Transport Canada regulates their use to keep the public and our airspace safe. RPAS are aircraft, which makes you a pilot. When you fly a RPAS you are sharing the skies with other RPAS and aircraft. Therefore, before you fly a RPAS, make sure you understand the rules that apply and follow them.

Canadian Air Regulations Part IX regarding the operation of RPAS, have been amended under TC CARS SOR/2019-11. RPAS operators, including first timers, and those seeking guidance on RPAS should refer to this amendment for detail and reasoning on all matters pertaining to RPAS operations in Canada under Transport Canada guidance and regulatory oversight. It contains most of the rules that apply to RPAS weighing up to 25 kilograms (55 lbs).

If you are flying a RPAS that is less than 250 grams (0.55 lbs) you do not need to register the RPAS or get a RPAS pilot certificate but you must respect all other laws.

Children younger than 14 must be supervised by someone with a RPAS pilot license. This includes clubs, camps and other youth groups.

Tips for first time pilots:

  • Make sure it is safe to fly. For example: is it too cold or windy and are the batteries fully charged?
  • Fly your RPAS with someone who has flown a RPAS before.
  • Fly your RPAS in an open space and away from people.
  • Fly your RPAS close to the ground and at a low speed.
  • Fly your RPAS during daylight and in good weather.

RPAS Operations within 5.6 km (3 mi) of the Squamish Municipal Airport - Don Patrick Field ("Squamish Airport")

No recreational RPAS flights are permitted.  All other intended RPAS flights must be approved by the District of Squamish ("District"). Contact the Arts and Culture Department for an application. If the intent is to produce a sequence for a film industry production refer to the Filming Application Process.

Operators intending to submit an application must provide the following information:

  • Flight details (RPAS flights as part of a special community event will require a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada). 
  • RPAS Pilot Certificate and RPAS Registration document from Transport Canada.
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance for a minimum of $5 million. 
  • Notification and coordination with tenants regarding flight profile and timing (District will advise and assist with this).  
  • Possess ICOM and able to monitor and communicate on Ground/Air frequency 122.8.
  • A spotter is to be continuously present to assist the operator to maintain a consistent visual line of sight (VLOS) on the RPAS.

 

 RPAS Operations on District Land

No recreational RPAS flights are permitted at District parks and trails due to: possible risks to visitors and maintenance staff; possible disturbance of wildlife; possible cause of negative experience for other parks and trails users; possible privacy and nuisance concerns.

The District recognizes that RPAS flights may be useful for needs such as official studies, commercial filming and natural resource management. Applicants for such purposes should contact the Arts and Culture Department. If the intent is to produce a sequence for a film industry production refer to the Filming Application Process.

Operators intending to submit an application must provide the following:

  • Flight details (recreational RPAS flights not allowed except as part of a special community event which will require a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) from Transport Canada).
  • RPAS Pilot Certificate and RPAS Registration document from Transport Canada.
  • Commercial General Liability Insurance for a minimum of $5 million.
  • Notification of Squamish Airport pilots and park or trail users may be required (District will advise and assist with this).
  • Possess ICOM and able to monitor and communicate on Ground/Air frequency 122.8.
  • A spotter is to be continuously present to assist the operator to maintain a consistent visual line of sight (VLOS) on the RPAS.

RPAS Operations on Private Property

Operators may conduct recreational RPAS flights from private property with property owner approval provided all guidance, rules and regulations below are followed. Considering the possible presence of aircraft and helicopters in the intended flight area RPAS operators must also obtain District approval for the flight to ensure safety requirements will be met and aviation notifications made (District will advise and assist in notifications). Application for approval should be made to Real Estate Services. If the intent is to produce a sequence for a film industry production refer to the Filming Application Process.

Operators intending to make an application must provide the following:

  • Flight details. A Transport Canada Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) must be obtained to:
    • fly the RPAS above 400ft;
    • fly at a special public event or an advertised event;
    • fly beyond a visual line-of-sight;
    • fly a RPAS that weighs 25kg or more.
  • Possess ICOM and able to monitor and communicate on Ground/Air frequency 122.8.
  • A spotter is to be continuously present to assist the operator to maintain a consistent visual line of sight (VLOS) on the RPAS

Please note that you are required to notify the District of any drone use upon submission of your Filming Application or Special Event Application.

RPAS Pilot Certificate

A RPAS Pilot Certificate issued by Transport Canada will require the holder to adhere to the following Certificate Rules and Regulations:

PILOT

  • Must be at least 16 years of age
  • Must meet recency requirements

SAFE DISTANCES

  • At a maximum altitude of 400 ft (122 m)
  • No flights within 5.6 km (3 nautical miles) of an airport, or 1.9 km (1 nautical miles of a heliport)
  • Operations between 100 ft (30 m) and 16.4 ft (5 m) near people permitted (declaration of safety assurance required from the manufacturer).
  • Operations less than 16.4 ft (5 m) horizontally over people permitted (declaration of safety assurance required from the manufacturer)

OPERATING RULES

  • Maintain visual line of sight at all times.
  • Must be fit to fly, which means not suffering from fatigue or having consumed drugs or alcohol within the last 12 hours.
  • Operations permitted in controlled airspace.
  • Night operations permitted with proper lighting.

 

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