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Flying your Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) in Canadian Airspace

As of June 1, 2019, new Transport Canada regulations apply to all remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) operating in Canadian airspace. Owners of RPAs (also known as drones or UAVs) must follow the requirements for operating their RPA in each class of Canadian airspace. 

What you need to know

Airspace in Canada is classified as controlled or uncontrolled.​ If you plan to operate in uncontrolled airspace (Class G), you will need a Transport Canada Pilot Certificate – Basic Operations. NAV CANADA does not  provide authorization​ for RPA flights in uncontrolled airspace.

If you plan to operate your RPA in controlled airspace (Classes C, D or E) you must have a Transport Canada Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations and you must obtain a written RPAS Flight Authorization from NAV CANADA, by submitting an RPAS Flight Authorization Request.

In addition, all RPA pilots must comply with all applicable legislation, including Canadian Aviation Regulations. For more information, see Transport Canada's Drone Safety page​.

Submitting an RPAS Flight Authorization Request

To submit an RPAS Flight Authorization Request, follow these steps: 

  1. Determine the flight information region for your RPA flight. You will need this information for the authorization form. 
  2. Complete and submit the online RPAS​ Flight Authorization Request​. ​See the FAQ page for answers to some common questions. Note: Earlier technical issues experienced by certain users of the online form have been resolved. If you experience any difficulties submitting a request, please contact NAV CANADA Customer and Stakeholder Services​.​

  3. Once submitted, a reference number will be issued and used in any future correspondence relating to this request. The request will be sent to the appropriate NAV CANADA regional RPAS office for review. 
  4. Please note that processing time will depend on the complexity of your request.​ You cannot operate your RPA in controlled airspace unless you receive a written RPAS Flight Authorization from NAV CANADA.​ Failure to comply with legal requirements when flying an RPA, including failure to obtain an RPAS Flight Authorization from NAV CANADA before flying an RPA in controlled airspace, can give rise to serious penalties, including fines and jail time.
  5. Please ensure that you have proof of your RPAS Flight Authorization on hand at all times when flying your RPA.​
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Advanced Operations Pilot Certificate and Licensing Course – Cornwall, ON

NAV CANADA, Carleton U​niversity’s Faculty of Engineering and Design and Ottawa Aviation Services are pleased to jointly offer an RPAS Advanced Pilot Certificate and Licensing ​course. This course is delivered at the NAV CENTRE in Cornwall, Ontario.

Course participants will be presented with a Certificate of Completion. The Transport Canada online exam, practical flight and radio license assessment are included in the program.

Click here​ for more information and upcoming course dates.

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