There are minimum age and medical requirements, as well as minimum competency standards that address knowledge, experience and skill. In terms of knowledge (ground school), the pilot must have successfully passed a course of ground school training that is based on Transport Canada TP15623 – “Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems, UAV 25 Kg or less operating within visual line-of-sight”. This document is available at: http://www.tc.gc.ca/media/documents/ca-publications/TP_15263E.pdf. Drone pilots are only required to obtain ground school training, and thus practical training is omitted. Furthermore the ground training is not applicable to any of the practical training or ground school classes that cover other materials such as the ROC-A, Operations Manager courses, SFOC application training. In the future Transport Canada will set minimum course times for drone training. It has been discussed that drone courses will be minimum of 20 hours with suggestions for these hours to be closer to 40.
Under the current SFOC standards drones Pilots will have to demonstrate they are medically fit. This can be done by visiting a certified aviation medical examiner or general practitioner. A medical declaration shall be filled out in order to meet standards https://www.sugudrones.com/category-4-medical-form/.
Purchase a UAV
Once you have completed ground training a UAV can be purchased. It is proposed that pilots operating in urban environments obtain a compliant UAV. This list can be found here: http://www.tc.gc.ca/en/services/aviation/drone-safety/getting-permission-fly-drone/applying-special-flight-operations-certificate/list-compliant-drones.html . For pilots operating outside these zones, a non-compliant drone can be utilised in rural areas.
Obtain UAV Insurance
The minimum drone insurance coverage, as mandated by Transport Canada is $100000. However it is recognised industry wide, that $100000 is not enough. We recommend pilots to obtain a minimum of 7.5 million policy when operating in Urban environment. Additional liability insurance provides better peace of mind to operator flying within built up area.
Apply for an SFOC
Assuming you have completed the above steps, you are now ready to start flying. Under the proposed rules drone pilots will not require an SFOC in rural areas, but will be required to become licensed. Furthermore, if you are a drone operator looking to operate in a complex urban environment, there will be the required Small UAV operators test, and a required practical test.