Drone Use & TheLaw

While they might seem like toys, a high-quality drone is a serious investment. We’ve flown plenty and there are a lot of good performers that we use.

1. Certification

What does this really mean? It means that our pilots have attended ground school that was written specifically to the TP 15263 Pilot Knowledge Requirements standards that were released by Transport Canada late in 2014. There was an industry wide revision to the certification process in 2019 where Transport Canada now requires all operators of Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) are now licensed and are at least 14 years of age.

TP 15263 is a training standard provided by Transport Canada that was based on the recommendations of an industry working group run by Unmanned Systems Canada. This standard is set to ensure that RPA pilots are trained to understand airspace, laws, and other critical factors with regards to the safe operation of RPAs in Canada.

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2. Insurance

This is a critical component that many RPA or drone operators don’t follow through on – proper insurance. At Blue Pixel Media, we are committed to operate not only under the safest conditions possible, but we ensure we, and our customers, have the full benefit of proper liability insurance.

We currently have a policy with $ 5,000,000 Liability coverage in the unlikely event that one of our seasoned and skilled pilots get into trouble. We never fly uninsured and always take this responsibility very seriously.

3. Relevant equipment and experience

Drones are used for a wide range of purposes and this requires different:
  1. Drone designs – e.g. quadcopter, octocopter, fixed wing aircraft
  2. Camera types – e.g. GoPro, Zenmuse X Series, Red Epic, Alexa Mini or Tau thermal camera,
  3. Operator experience – e.g. photographing houses, shooting TV commercials, asset inspection, crop analysis and forest survey.

For our pilots to perform Film or Television work, we will only use high-end 4K cameras such as an Alexa, we work effectively with a Director of Photography, and we possess the necessary skill to fly very smoothly and get our RPAs into the right position for an optimal shot.

To carry out a more technical survey or mapping project, our pilots understand how to capture and manage data sets to ensure that the final result is accurate.

We encourage any current or potential client to ask our professional pilots to demonstrate their experience doing specifically what you are asking for. Our pilots are happy to show their abilities by showing you sample images and videos and data sets / 3D models.

4. Travel expenses

Although we do typically travel within the Calgary and surrounding area at no additional charge, our licensing actually allows us to film anywhere in Canada, the US and even Mexico. For projects located in other locations, we have to tools and skill to acquire the legal documentation and insurance coverage to travel beyond these borders within a few days.

In the event we are required to travel some distance to complete your project, we will discuss any additional charges for travel up front and have your full agreement before completing any Mission Objectives or Flight Plans.

5. Proper Documentation

Another facet in proper UAV or drone imaging is what is referred to as an SFOC. The Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) is the certificate issued by Transport Canada that is necessary to obtain in order to fly a remotely piloted aircraft for commercial purposes.

An SFOC is mandatory for all flight operations if:

  • The aircraft has a take-off weight above 250g.
  • We want to fly next to a building and there is a neighbouring building within 9 km.
  • We want to fly in anything other than class G airspace.
  • We want to be able to operate at a moment’s notice.

It is very common for most amateurs and novice RPA operators to fly WITHOUT a proper SFOC. The reality is that this process can be cumbersome and time consuming, and usually requires weeks and up to months to acquire. At Blue Pixel Media – we will never operate without a proper SFOC in place for any project that is outside of federally recognized Class “G” airspace.

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