First Step: Getting a Pilot Certificate
There are three types of pilot certificates you should be aware of; Basic, Advanced & Special Permission. To fly at the PDQ Field the only Pilot certificate you need is the BASIC Pilot Certificate. Click on the name of each certificate to learn more about them.
Minimum certificate required to fly RPAS in Canada.
This is used in cases where:
- Flight is in uncontrolled airspace
- You fly more than 30 meters (100ft) horizontally from bystanders
- You never fly OVER bystanders
- You are more than 3 nautical miles from a certified airport or military aerodrome
- You are more than 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport.
An Advanced certificate allows for:
- Flight in controlled airspace
- Flight within 30 meters (100ft) horizontally from bystanders
- Flight over bystanders
- Flight within 3 nautical miles from a certified airport or military aerodrome
- Flight within 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport.
This certificate type has increased testing requirements, and increased flight requirements.
Please note that holding an Advanced Certificate does not increase your altitude limit in any way. You are still regulated to 400' AGL. At this time, there is no advantage to holding an Advanced Certificate, if flying at the PDQ Field.
If your RPAS weighs more than 25kg, or you wish to fly outside of any of the other rules, you will require special permission from Transport Canada before you can fly. The Special Permission options are outside the scope of this page.
Basic Pilot Certificate Exam
The exam costs $10 per attempt, and can be attempted as many times as you like until you pass. If you fail the exam, you are required to wait 24hrs before you may attempt it again. The exam is 35 questions long, and you will have 90 minutes to complete it. A score of 65% or higher is considered a pass. The exam is an 'open book' exam, but you cannot give or accept help from any person during the exam.
The exam does have some specialized knowledge about airports, aerodromes, weather, and radio use that the average canadian (or modeler) is not likely to know. Our recommendation is that you want to study before taking the exam.
When you are ready to take the exam, follow this link here.
Self Study Guides
If you are going to study yourself, there are two guides which are helpful:
Transport Canada Knowledge Requirements - This document is a list of all the items which you are expected to be familiar with, in order to pass your test. It doesn't teach the items, but it lists them.
For example: "[the] small RPAS pilot operating within visual line of sight must be able to define aerodrome, airport, and pilot-in-command."
By quickly reading though the list, you may determine you've got enough knowledge to attempt the test without any further study. Conversely, it may convince you that a little reading is in order.
RPAS 101 - A general knowledge guide for Canadian RPAS Pilots - This PDF book is the 'easiest' read I could find online for free. It's very detailed, covers all the sections you will need to know for both passing your test, and actually flying within the regulations. It's 120 pages total, and you'll find you can skim or skip many of the sections.
Classes - Online and In Person
There are a three drone flight schools in the area, which can be found through this link here. Coastal Drone out of Langley City BC offers an online course for the Basic Pilot Certificate. The course is $99, and includes practice exams and more. The course appears to be aimed at the "quad-copter drone" crowd, and we've made no effort to evaluate the actual classes offered. You can read about their program here.
Pilot Certificate Registration
Similar to having your MAAC number on file, in order to fly at the PDQ field we need to have your RPAS Pilot Certification on file.
Simply use the form below to submit your RPAS Pilot Certificate data.