Excellent news for our students and drone pilot instructors, we now offer a bilingual international equivalency program (French & English)
for obtaining certificates of recognition in ICAO member countries.
Drone Box is the only Canadian training center certified by the French Directorate General of Civil Aviation to offer a European equivalence program for Canadian drone pilots wishing to obtain international recognition. as well as the preparation in accordance with part 1 ° 7 of the FAA rules
Unmanned Aircraft (UA) are aircraft, but they feature a wide variety of capabilities and styles, including RPAs, sometimes referred to as “drones” in common parlance. Regulators need to be able to distinguish between different categories.
Commercial drone flying is far less regulated in Canada than in the U.S. or U.K. In fact, while a drone pilot certificate is required, Transport Canada makes no distinction between commercial and recreational use. There are, however, two different levels of certification.
For Basic Operations — which includes any flight more than 100 feet away from bystanders and in uncontrolled airspace — pilots need only take an online test, called the Small Basic Exam.
For all other flights — classified as Advanced Operations — pilots must complete a separate online test and complete a flight review. This is an in-person evaluation of your skills as a pilot, similar to a driver’s license test. This examination is administered by a certified flight reviewer who attended a drone flight school and has been approved by Transport Canada.
No matter what kind of certification you have, it’s essential that your drone pilot certificate is on your person at all times while operating a UAV.
🇪🇺 European Union 🇪🇺
Starting in 2020, the EU and all its member nations divide drones into three distinct categories based on their weight and use.
The Open category covers most forms of commercial drone use. Open drones can’t fly over any “uninvolved people,” without exception
— however past that there are subcategories based on the type of drone. Subcategory A2 drones can fly within 30 horizontal meters of uninvolved people, and get as close as 5 meters if using the low-speed mode function. However, only drones manufactured in 2021 or later are eligible.
For most commercial drones, Subcategory A3 rules apply. This class of drones can only fly in an area where uninvolved people and buildings are outside of your visual line of sight, typically about 150 meters.
The Specific and Certified categories, meanwhile, include drones and uses with a greater level of risk. Drones covered in the Specific category require specific authorization before any given flight. In some cases, however, a pilot need only declare their intention to fly in advance. For Certified category flights, both the drone and operator must have special licensing.
Once you’ve determined which category best describes your situation, you can begin the licensing process by registering with your area’s National Aviation Authority. Notably, each country in the EU has its own NAA. From there, it’s on you to ensure your drone is properly insured in your country and take the test for your category. Each test has 40 multiple-choice questions. Potential subcategory A2 pilots also need to answer an additional 30 multiple-choice questions about subjects like mitigating ground risk.
For more information, we decode the new European drone regulations laid out by the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA).
In the U.S., the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is the governmental body that is responsible for regulating the national airspace, and classifies drone pilots into three categories:
Hobbyists: Includes drone pilots flying for recreational purposes;
Commercial users: Pilots flying with the intent of generating commercial value;
Government users: Any drone pilots flying for a government entity such as fire department, police department, agency or similar
Establishing which type of classification you fit under will allow you to understand the rules and regulations that are applicable — with hobbyists subject to a lower level of oversight than the other two categories.
Commercial drone pilots are subject to the FAA’s Small UAS Rule (Part 107) — which states that commercial pilots must hold a Remote Pilot Certificate and register their UAV with the FAA. Other Part 107 rules specify the allowable weight of a UAV, as where your drone can go.
Notably, drones must weigh less than 55 pounds, including payload and must be kept within the pilot’s visual line of sight and in Class G airspace.
The eligibility criteria to receive a Remote Pilot Certificate, include:
Being 16 years of age or older;
Passing the Part 107 test;
The ability to read, speak and write English;
The physical and mental condition to fly a drone safely
To begin the certification process, a pilot must begin by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile.
From there, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with an FAA Knowledge Testing Center to take the Part 107 test. The exam covers multiple subjects, including:
Restrictions and regulations;
The effects of weather on a UAS;
Radio communication procedures;
The impact of drugs and alcohol on flight ability;
Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
Once a pilot has passed the test, they should complete FAA Form 8710-13 and register in the FAA IACRA system. A printable remote pilot certificate will then be issued and emailed. Commercial drone pilots should keep this certificate in an accessible place at all times when working with a drone or other UAS. Each certificate is valid for two years, at which point a pilot will have to pass another knowledge test.
In the U.K., a commercial drone license, or permission as they are known here, is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority and valid for a 12-month period. These permissions are required not only for anyone wishing to use a drone for commercial purposes but also to fly a UAV more than 400 feet above the ground and within a set distance of crowded areas.
Commercial drone permissions are divided into two categories: Standard and Non-Standard.
A Standard Permission covers the vast majority of commercial uses, as well as anyone looking to fly past the boundary restrictions mentioned above. Non-Standard permissions are only given out to pilots whose work has a higher degree of risk. In addition to meeting all of the requirements for a Standard Permission, Non-Standard pilots must also submit special paperwork, called an Operating Safety Case, to the CAA.
Pilots seeking a permission must:
Complete a Remote Pilot Competence, which includes demonstrating knowledge of basic aviation law, practice and theory, and passing a practical flight assessment.
Craft an Operations Manual with set procedures that are applicable to the type of flying they’ll be doing.
Preparation for the exam is typically handled by CAA-certified private companies, referred to as National Qualified Entities. The CAA recommends that interested pilots contract an NQE before attempting to get a permission.
Commercial drone pilots in Australia must have a remote pilot licence, or RePL from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. In addition, you or your employer must possess a remotely piloted operators certificate (ReOC) — which is for businesses who wish to use drones. Notably, none of these licensing requirements apply to a recreational user.
To obtain a RePL, pilots must first apply for an aviation reference number, a unique ID used by the government to identify pilots. From there, pilots must complete a required training protocol.
Those with no previous experience must take a course with a certified training provider. For those who have some experience — such as some members of the military and those who have already completed an aviation theory course — a short competency test is the only requirement. A completed RePL can then be downloaded with a convenient iPhone or Android app.