Just 18 months ago, Canada was seen as a leader in the integration of small unmanned aircraft into the airspace system but sweeping new regulations in the U.S. have turned the tables.
Transport Canada announced proposed rules to allow limited commercial use of drones in unpopulated areas in late 2014.
But on Tuesday, the U.S. FAA announced rules that will allow broad use of drones for business as long as pilots pass a written test that ensures knowledge of the drone rules and basic airspace requirements.
“The big deal is the Americans have implemented their rules with none of the bureaucracy and overhead that we have in Canada,” Unmanned Systems Canada Chairman Mark Aruja told the CBC. “It’s a much more complex process.”
There is no indication that Transport Canada intends to follow suit and that means trouble for what was a burgeoning drone industry in Canada.
In an email, TC told the network the new rules in the U.S. are similar to those covered by special flight operations certificates required in Canada, except, of course, for the absence of any application process in the U.S. model.
TC told the CBC Canada is “a world leader in unmanned air vehicle safety.” A total of 6,849 SFOCs have been issued in Canada.