Canadian Drone regulations – PiXL Drone Show #30
Today, your hosts are karen murphy, greg reverdio and myself hi geff sloan. If youre new to the show, then please be sure to subscribe and like our channel and share it with friends and family as we grow the audience it helps us to to make this show even better and more popular todays guest is trevor lyons. The chief drone pilot from cbc news in canada trevor has 25 years of experience in videography and photography and has been working on projects related to discovery channels, sochi olympics cbc, radio, canada and others hes. A certified drone pilot and wed love to talk to him and kind of pick his brain and get some of his experience and share that with with our audience, welcome to the show trevor. Thank you very much happy to be here. Awesome. Well, lets start with the first question right away: can you take us back to the beginning and tell us a little bit about when you started flying drones and what your first roam was and how you kind of grew from there to where you are currently in Your current position for sure i think, like a lot of people, i had a little bit of interest in rc cars and trucks, and you know building those and a little bit. I enjoy the techie side of it and like the the rf and the building and the soldering and uh the first drone i got is actually uh that f550 on the wall behind me, which doesnt fly anymore, um and funny story about that f550.
Is i got it i think in about 2012 and i ordered it online and i didnt know anything about drones at the time uh. There were no drone laws in canada at the time i didnt even know who dji was at the time, which seems ridiculous. Now um, but when i got that delivered to my front door, it got the its its branded dji, but it came in a ziploc bag, wrapped in duct tape, so im not sure where that drone actually came from and if its actually a dji product uh, but That was my first drone and lets just say that that drone helped me learn how to fly thats, pretty awesome um. So you work as the chief drone pilot for cbc news. Can you tell us what your responsibilities are in that role, so uh cbc news for those that dont know is canadas national public broadcaster, so news gathering is super important at the cbc, its one of our main main jobs. Initially, my job at first was to understand drone laws, make sure that we were following those laws, figure out how drones were going to integrate into journalism. And how would we use this new tool in news gathering um, as everywhere around the world, as regulations have evolved as the technology has evolved? My job is sort of transitioned into sort of being a reference for other pilots and looking after training overseeing making sure that were following the regulatory process and helping out all of our other pilots meet the same standard.
So you said youre in charge of training. The drone pilots, can you tell us a little bit of how that works? How many pilots do you have? What kind of drone training program are you going through to get them ready to go so the the pandemic has had an odd effect on drone operations at cbc um, because for so long we were hesitant or couldnt and depending on the jurisdiction across canada, the the Coveted rules were different so as as a videographer normally, my job would be to go and visit someone and do an interview with them in their house or in their place of business and during covid that wasnt possible. So there was a lot of interviews done like were talking now over skype or over at google chat or, however, over zoom, so videographers were less busy, so managers saw that their team was less busy, so they filled that with drone training in some parts, so weve During the pandemic, weve probably doubled. The amount of pilots that we have at cbc were up to uh 30 pilots across the country now, and i would say off top my head another dozen that are currently in training so thats from from coast to coast. Uh, the the fleet has expanded quite a bit, so that makes my job great ive got a lot of new people with relatively low experience. So that makes my job fun because i get lots of phone calls and questions.
And how do you do this? What do i do in this circumstance? Thats my job is to help them out and get that done, and the drone training is different in canada. So can you walk us? Through? Most of our viewers are from the us. I know you guys have a flying component to it as well, so im sure that has made things a little bit more difficult when it comes to covid and everything and and so walk us through kind of the differences with the in the um in canada. So our licensing system is broken into two parts in canada. You can get either a basic license or an advanced license. Now a basic license is uh. The the bar is relatively low uh from a difficulty point of view. In writing the exam um but uh. You can only fly in class g airspace so really for the hobbyist who just wants to have uh any kind of drone over 250 grams. If you want to fly that in class g airspace, you need to go and uh get your basic license. Now, at the cbc, all of our pilots are have our advanced license and thats theres a little bit more entailed in getting your advanced license in canada, theres uh, an online study component that is uh that we do at cbc theres a third party that we did, That does some online training. For that, then you write your online exam.
You pass that and then you have to go. Do an in person flight review with a certified instructor, so you show up. You have to show up with procedures, risk assessments, flight plan, lots of documentation about your flight registration. You show that to the reviewer and then you do a 15 minute flight and the flight reviewer will ask you to do certain things. Theyll ask you to guess your distance guess how high you are without looking at your telemetry theyll. Ask you theyll just make sure that you can control the drone that you can take off and land without causing any problems um, but most of it is to check out to to know that you understand where you are, what airspace youre in and who to call A case of emergency thats uh, basically what it comes down to wow, thats, thats, um thats, actually really interesting. I think theres been a lot of discussions in the u.s about uh, similar training and why we dont have a flying component. What kind of drones do you guys use for training purposes? I would say the drones uh we use at the cbc, i would say 90 of them, maybe even higher are dji products. The mavic 2 pro is probably the the workhorse that we have that we use the most right. Now we have a bunch of inspire twos and probably one in every region, so that is there for higher end photography and videography, where you have prime lenses and you can take that out and get different types of shots.
But we also have a lot of mavic minis for news thats happening right away or stuff, where you dont have time to make a flight plan or get everything in order, sometimes using that sub 250 drone. That in canada falls underneath the regulatory theres like a regulatory bar where under 250 theres a lot less regulat regulations, so mostly dji products, and i would say in training when people are new, probably the mini and the mavic 2 pro. And then, as people get more experience, they can have access to an inspire 2. and then, in the last year, id say: weve kind of ive kind of gotten into uh fpv and what that can bring uh to to us as broadcasters in news gathering, um and Thats sort of where were at now so ive got uh, maybe four or five fpvs that were testing out wow thats thats cool. Actually i dont think ive seen anyone um in the news industry in the u.s using fpv yet which i think is uh thats cool. Its completely different perspective, so im excited to hear that, so what are some of the most important skills a remote pilot could acquire, i think, patience and the ability to stay calm when everything is going crazy around you, um and not just i guess the experience in Being a news photographer maybe helps in that because theres this in the news, business, theres, just pressure of of going live and getting the story edited just before six oclock and you know producing under deadlines and being able theres.
I think thats something that you can practice that were working under pressure or taking a moment to realize that. Okay, yes, theres a deadline, but if i stay calm and if i go through my regular process, everythings gon na be fine um. Making this good decisions under pressure translates into being a drone pilot and being able to look at what is in front of you and assessing the situation um and deciding yes. I can do this or no its not worth it um, and i think many people dont realize that being a drone pilot, you sort of have to practice. Risk management and uh. Part of the training process is risk management and understanding. You know risk versus reward and you know risk mitigation and so not not avoiding risk and not doing something that is risky, uh, not jumping over a rule. So i always hesitate by saying by saying something like find your way around a rule, but putting real mitigation in place that allows you to safely get around a rule is probably a better way to put that. So i cant fly over people, but i can put people in the crowd and get those people to separate the crowds that i can fly in this area and be sure that theres, no one underneath my drone so spotters are a big thing at cbc and communication With spotters, so i think teaching people that they already know about risk management. How to bring that into being a drone pilot is probably one of the bigger things that we do.
Thats thats thats, really interesting um that you use, like a team of people to to make sure that the situation is safe. I heard you mention that you guys pretty much fly all dji drones in in canada. Do you have the same fear as we have here in the united states, about chinese made drones and data being leaked to chinese government and all those kind of things or is that is that so political, just in the u.s and its not so much an issue In canada, i i have heard that talked about um im, just wondering if maybe we dont have anything that thats thats, that interesting enough for china, that we dont worry about it as much. I wonder if maybe thats part of the the problem, no uh, i joke a little bit, but yeah weve heard it and as as a public broadcaster, we are technically owned by the government, its just that the government doesnt have any influence in our day to day Operations so um, yes, its something that is on the table, its been mentioned in meetings um, but nothing is happening with it. Yet so um if theres a news event happening um as a news organization. Can you simply show up at the location and throw your drone up in the air, or do you have a checklist to make sure that everything is safely in place before you can launch? Yes, we have a checklist um, and the answer is typically.
It depends in 2019, the rules and the regulations changed in canada, so pre 2019. The answer that question was absolutely not uh. You had to get a flight plan in order. You had to ask permission from nav canada, which is the air navigation service provider for controlled airspace um. So basically the rules were the same for me with a drone, as they were for a jumbo jet or a cessna. If i wanted to enter controlled airspace, i was an aircraft and i needed permission and that permission process took a certain amount of time, so i couldnt just show up at a news event and throw a joint up in the air. Just recently, nav canada has developed an application and a web portal called nav drone, and that allows me to have a profile set up online. As a pilot with all my drones and all my licenses and i can go in quickly – draw a map and therell be certain thresholds in controlled airspace. So if youre on approach, uh say a mile out youre not going to get automatic permission to fly that. But if youre say off 90 degrees to the side of the airport and youre, not over the circuit, then youre probably going to get an automatic approval. If you stay under, say 300 feet and if youre a little closer, maybe its 200 feet. So its a really great system that has come in recently that has allowed us as a new news organization to very reduce by an extreme amount.
Our ability to deploy quickly, which is uh great for us, is that approval immediate. You said: are you getting a text message thats, how it works in the u.s yeah, its uh, its an email that we get back so as long as you meet certain criteria, you you know before you hit request whether youre going to get an automatic approval or Not which is great because it allows you to adjust your request to meet the parameters that will get you an automatic approval, yeah and then, if you needed to fly lets, say really close to an airport at a much lower uh out much higher altitude. How long does that typically take? Do you have to submit that to the the equivalent of the faa in canada uh, so the equivalent of the faa in canada is transport, canada uh we so my license is through transport, canada, the regulator, but all of my interaction in airspace is a separate company Which is nav canada and they look after theyre like the the the people in the control tower. They look after controlled airspace. So all of my requests for controlled airspace are through uh the ansp. So if i have a really high risk operation, i can still do it, but im not going to get an automatic approval im going to have to go through a process, a person. An expert is going to look at that and theyre going to decide whether its safe or not, and then theres a bit of a back and forth there.
So theres theres, nothing, we cant do its just the improvement theyve made. Is that the high risk operations they take longer and the low risk operations you can do right away, which is great for us. Yep risk based risk based management of air spaces. Uh is the way to go. I agree yeah. So do you see smaller drones like djis mini and the forthcoming hotel nano, i think its being released at the end of october? Do you see those playing a pertinent role in news gathering going forward? Absolutely and absolutely not so uh yeah because were in canada and uh. You know the weather is different, like vancouver, absolutely those are going to play an important role except when it rains and it rains all the time in vancouver and seattle right in winnipeg, where i am in the middle of the country, absolutely in the summertime. But the manufacturer usually rates those drones at a minimum temperature of zero degrees celsius. So for four or five months of the year i would be in the winter im operating out of the manufacturers specs for that drone. So it stays in my basement or in the back of my car for the entire winter uh toronto and montreal are a bit warmer, maybe only two or three months of the year. Those dont get used so its different across the country. But yes, those those smaller drones that are sub 250 are fantastic tools: um were maybe not using them, for our news magazine shows that have a higher production value, but for daily news absolutely those are fantastic tools, but it all goes back to you know, and as Technology advances and improves – maybe in a year some of those sub 250s will be rated for minus 10 degrees celsius or you think the inspire 2 is rated for 20 and thats.
Why we have a fleet of inspire 2s is because we need to operate all year and that that technology allows us to do that interesting in the united states. If you fly recreationally with a sub 250 gram drone, you dont have to register the drone. As soon as you fly professionally, you have to register with the faa still. Can you quickly explain how the rules are, what the rules are for sub 250 drones in canada and are they the same for professional as well as recreational pilots, so in canada uh when they changed the rules in 2019, there was no longer a distinction between commercial Use and recreational use, it was all risk based, so it doesnt matter why youre flying it just matters where youre flying and what the risk is for that flight, an advanced pilot, which means i have uh. Theoretically, i have a deeper knowledge of the regulations and, if i theres a second part of that to the drone you use in canada needs to meet a certain standard in order to fly in certain areas, so i can use any drone. I want in class g airspace if i want to fly and control their space. I need to be an advanced pilot and i need to have a drone that the manufacturer has rated it as acceptable for controlled airspace and even more than that, if i want to fly over people, the manufacturer has to state that that drone is safe to fly Over people so theres sort of the two sides of the risk: theres the education of the pilot and the experience and theres the tool that youre using does that drone qualify for that type of operation.
Um im. Sorry, i forget the second part of your question. Second, part of my question was whether whether its the same for professional recreational pilots – but i think you pretty much already answered it – sounds like the rules in in canada – are more risk based and and also more advanced. I would argue than what we have here in the united states with the faa yeah. I think um there was the the 250 gram rule too so in canada, if your drone is uh under 250 grams, the new regulations that came into place dont apply to that. So, between 250 grams and 25 kilograms is considered a small remotely piloted aircraft. A small rpa under 250 is a micro rpa, so micro rpas are i wouldnt, say: theyre, unregulated, but theyre, much less regulated and as long as youre not causing a problem or causing aviation safety or causing risk to bystanders, you can pretty much fly wherever you want. Is that the same for lets, say americans if i was going to go to the niagara falls and i want to hop over the border be in canada, bring a mavic or a mini two can i can i safely fly that there lets say away from the Waterfalls, obviously, but just with a sub 250 gram drone, i hesitate to answer that question. Specifically, i specifically niagara falls. I live a long way from niagara falls, but i think niagara falls is controlled, uh or sorry.
Uh class f restricted airspace, so i dont think you can fly. I dont think any aircraft, including sub 250s, can fly in niagara falls uh, but if we take that same example and put it in class g airspace, i dont know if foreign operators can operate any size drone in airspace in canada. I know for sure you couldnt operate a a plus 250 gram drone. I honestly dont know the answer for a sub 250. yeah. I think that there are some rules to to fly as a u.s citizen in canada and you get a there is no reciprocity per se, but there is some paperwork that you have to fill out: its yeah, its its pretty stringent, actually and same for people coming In the u.s actually and actually yeah, im pretty sure uh that uh foreign operators operating in canada with over 250 gram, drones need to apply for what is called an sfoc a special flight operations certificate which is basically a permit to operate outside of the rules. For a specific amount of time this, this reciprocity of of licensing is something thats really important for us, because we have bureaus in washington in london in russia and moscow. So how do our pilots safely legally and stay insured while they operate in different countries around the world and its its tough to be an expert in the rules of all the drone laws in every different region of the world, so thats thats, something thats slow and Its difficult to deal with from an insurance point of view, but its something were working on right now, yeah.
When you see how long it took in the u well in the world to get standards with iko for many aircraft, pilots, its going to be a while before we see anything everybodys still trying to figure figure. This out on the uas side and, like you said its very difficult to keep track of everything going on in every country. I did have a question from a from a journalists standpoint. What does the drone bring to you what what kind of different perspective? How does this enhance what you do as a journalist, so i would say uh when drones were relatively new, like uh, when we were in the the phantom era and before like the mavics came in, it was, and the inspire one era we were in this this Moment in time, where, all of a sudden, we had access to a tool that previously would have been a helicopter with a gimbal on it and it would have been like just ridiculous costs and you would never get that tool in a local budget. So what it gave to us at the beginning was access to you know not only access to it, but regional stations had access to this fantastic tool for great shots, and i think now, with the advance in technology and the drop in prices in drones and the Ease of access to airspace now drones and drone visuals have almost become instead of a nice to have its almost like a baseline.
I think people almost expect it now um, which is why were doing so much training because pretty much any youtube video you see any video production that is done, theres, probably going to be a drone shot in it now and its its almost like. If you dont, have it youre behind the times yeah, is there a trend that you see in current drones that are either announced or that are around the corner, that youre excited about from a from a news perspective thats, going to make your job easier? What im excited about right now is fpv and in the same way, that drones initially brought like that beautiful, wide shot, that beautiful transition. That way to like bring the viewing public to your story and say look, this is what were trying to this. Is the story? Were telling you this is the the geographic region were talking about uh now with fpv its almost the opposite, you can get super super close and the types of stories are different, so all those like sports stories, uh art stories uh. You know i did a shoot not too long ago in a sculpture, garden uh, which is not breaking news, but we just did this tour and it was coved, so people couldnt go out and enjoy the parks and visit things. So i did this fpv flight around the sculpture garden and just slowly flew around these sculptures and, and it was super popular online, because people just got to see what was what was happening outside so stuff like that and uses that we didnt think were possible before I think is what were looking to next in drums.
Wow thats, thats, exciting im excited to see that kind of stuff. So we saw your fpv drone video of the cbc offices. Do you see a trend in fpv drones being used to in the news or to cover the news um going forward? I i think so um its the the difficulty with that the shot itself is amazing and fantastic and with the view that it gives it brings the viewer like right on board and you can get as a pilot you you have like so much confidence in flying. Close to things, because you can see them so well, especially inside where you dont, have to worry about aviation safety right. The difficulty with fpv right now is that its still sort of at the diy level of production, like you, you can buy a frame and you can buy a flight controller and you can solder it and put it together yourself and you can change motors and the While thats great from having control over what you want to, buy and building something specific to your needs, then that drone doesnt have a manufacturer, so theres no recommendations from the manufacturer. So how do i get insured for that drone? So how? How safe is that to fly over people theres? No, because im sort of building it at home theres no standard for that drone. So i think thats, the hiccup or the hurdle right now and dgi has obviously come out with their fpv drone, but its sort of a hybrid drone, but at least it comes with certain certifications from a manufacturer that has done research right so were sort of at That point with fpv right now, where the shots are amazing and new and fantastic and weve all seen like the bowling alley shot and weve all seen uh like those types of like so many car commercials.
Now that you see online have a diving fpv shot in them. Um so were kind of at that you know. Cine lifters are a bit different, theyre heavy duty drones and on a closed set, so the regulations are maybe a bit different. But how do i use that in a daily news point of view right so were not quite there yet so were seeing the usage a little bit and the other hurdle is the amount of time it takes to get, i wont even say good at it, but Just proficient enough to get a shot, its probably another good side of kovid was. I spent a lot of time on a simulator in my basement, because there was nothing else to do but like how many, how many pilots are going, how many drone pilots are going to spend x, number of hours, 100 hours practicing um that type of stuff like It its great and its fun and its an amazing experience to fly it and you get great shots, but theres a lot of training that goes into getting those types of shots. Oh yeah, i mean i uh reviewed the fpv drone from dji for dp review and the first time i switched it into manual mode which they purposely make it difficult to do it in the goggles, because they dont just want people automatically doing it on the remote. I crashed it, so i get where youre coming from. It is something you have to work in this simulator or the software for a few months before you even touch it in real life, and i would imagine that not um many pilots have that patience or that dedication, or even that, additional courage, and i find when You are flying uh in manual mode or really um in aggro mode.
I should say more technically its much different, because youre constantly maneuvering the joysticks, whereas if youre just flying drones, regularly youre maneuvering here and there, but its its a totally different experience. So i believe what youre saying it really is and its uh when youre working with a dji product – and you finish your shot, you can sort of let go of the sticks and discuss with your observer and say what do we do next and your drone just Sort of hovers there and waits for you, whereas in fpv youre flying a hundred percent of the time and you dont stop until its on the ground and then you talk about things. Then you change batteries and do it again so lets talk about this uh. This shot that you guys did in your offices im sure that took a lot of coordination, a lot of different tries. Can you walk us through maybe some of the things that youve learned or some of the things that you had to go through to make this happen? Yeah for sure it was a an amazing experience. Our team uh, a team of three of us that sort of worked on the shot, uh and probably the most time invested in that shot, was just finding a spot in the building where we had rf penetration from the beginning of the shot to the end of The shot and like we went from outside on the main floor to the opposite end of the building.
On the 10th floor, so we tried sitting on the seventh floor. We tried sitting on the main floor, we tried, we moved around and we do test flights and then, once we kind of found a spot um, we broke the shot down into three areas and then i would just practice those areas, but because this was all new. We had to wait till the the building was empty at night, so all of our practice, uh runs were overnight when there was nobody in the building, so no risk of hitting anybody, and it was kind of weird to be in this huge, the huge cbc building. When it was empty at night, with this drone making crazy noise through the atrium um but yeah, we broke it into into into those three different shots. And then, once we were confident with our position and the rf um when we did a rehearsal for the election show thats when we did it from beginning to end, and i think we ended up doing two separate runs, and that was one of those runs. We did two two or three separate runs before we got. Uh got the shot, finished, thats, really cool yeah, it wasnt uh. It was an awesome. Video well well, try to see if we can edit it into the the podcast. I think its definitely worthwhile for people to watch it. I want to shift gears a little bit and um talk about some moments where drones uh were prominently in the news, and i remember uh back in 2015, there was a skier, i think his name is marshall.
Hisher in uh he was skiing, a slalom race in italy and as hes clearing one of the gates. You see this huge drone crashing right behind him, and i remember that moment as being like, oh wow, that this is what also can happen with drones. Do you know any other highlights where you think, okay, so within the news gathering or using drones, to to um to report on news where drones kind of had a um an important or breakthrough moment? I do remember seeing that that skiing incident, because im sure much like you guys uh whenever drone stuff happens or is online, everybody sends it to the drone person. They know right so uh. I saw that a whole bunch of times and what stuck with me from that event specifically was uh. I forget what the event was, but it was like a world cup or olympics, or it was a high end event right, so that that is what stuck with me was that event has resources and thats, not just somebody who went to best, buy or walmart and Bought a drone and doesnt know what theyre doing thats a team of people who know what theyre doing they probably have policies and procedures and risk assessments just like we do, and that still happen to them. So it was. It was that a moment of that reminder that you know just because you do everything right doesnt mean its going to end up that way.
Theres theres still risk involved so um when things like that happen and weve all had close calls or accident events. Its a reminder that thats, why we have our procedures and our risk assessments, because these things will happen eventually. So if your drone is going to fall, make sure it falls where theres no people underneath it yeah for sure i mean its interesting, because when you talk to other people in the drone industry, of course, we all know what drones are and we were very knowledgeable About it, when i talk to lets, say other people within friends or family uh, they are far less familiar with drones and i think its those moments like that drone crashing behind the ski or how drones were used when the the notre dame cathedral in paris was On fire is when drones kind of make their way into the more mainstream or more public uh field of view. If you will um, i was wondering if you know of any other moments, that kind of stuck with you over time like. Oh, this is one of those things where drones became super prominent. All of a sudden, i guess, like timing, is everything right and i think um i had just sort of found out or id just been introduced to fpv and id seen a couple of fbv races and its so different than dji drones. That yeah, i saw it and oh my god, those guys are really talented pilots but im never going to use that in the news gathering business and then was it.
The explosion in istanbul happened. Somebody slowly flew an fpv drone through the devastation of that explosion and that sort of triggered something for me. Thats, like oh, you dont, have to be racing at 80 miles an hour through a gate. You can use that same technology to slowly go through a disaster area, and you know you cant physically go there and to see it, but you can send an fpv drone and you wouldnt be able to fly that line of sight, but because youre fpv, you can Go through that door and down the hallway and out a window and then up and show the devastation so that that was a moment where i, where again somebody sent me something online and they were just going. Wow look at this and i was like it made that connection in my head of, like wow thats, a tool that we could use so weve had remote id introduced in the us, and we had some rules passed recently about flights during the night. Beyond visual line of sight and what have you and so im curious in canada? What are the rules for flying drones over urban areas over people during the night etc? Is canada stricter than the u.s? I get a feeling. It is a little bit and are small drones. The way to go weve discussed this earlier, but um inarguably. They pose much less risk to people on the ground, just because theyre lighter more compact.
I especially like the cage that the dji mini and mini 2 the cage that the propeller cage that fits on those two drones. So what are your thoughts? I guess on all this so for night flying in canada, its its allowed. You need to have lights on your drone, but like the dji products qualify for for night flying uh as far as flying over people uh, the the manufacturer of the drone has to approve that so um theres. There are no dji products right now who meet that requirement. There is, however, companies like uh. They produce, like a parachute that you can add to your drone, so uh indemnist nexus is a as a product that we have for our inspire twos and so an inspire 2 with a parachute installed on. It is rated in canada for flight over people, so theres. Some exceptions to that it doesnt mean crowds uh, it doesnt mean advertised events, so you cant show up at a sporting event and fly your drone over a massive crowd like that. But you could go to say a park and fly over somebody walking their dog. You could get an urban shot and fly over people that are walking down like pedestrians, walking down the street, so theres theres some openness to doing that, so again, its risk based. If you mitigate that risk of being over top of bystanders with a parachute, then then youre allowed to to do it, and i guess im not sure what the rules are elsewhere, but in canada, youre allowed were allowed to fly over buildings and allowed to fly over Cars, the the risk is really for for people for pedestrians and bystanders.
If, if they dont know that youre there, then you cant fly uh you cant fly within five meters or so 30 feet of them, so also beyond visual line of sight um. What are those rules so thats something in flux right now, so right now uh, i always have to be uh line of sight, so uh, one thing that we do to mitigate that is because im working in tv and the shot is really important. Im piloting head down in my monitor and im framing a shot, so ive got a headset and ive got a spotter and that spotter is walking around and theyre helping me judge like trees and wires and buildings and watching for people underneath me. So, if im doing like an urban shot a lot of times, we will, in our preparation, uh ill look at say, like a google map and ill say: okay, what we want to shoot is this point here and just off to the side: theres, a ball diamond Or a soccer pitch and if its not going to be in use, then thats a great spot to fly from. We have lots of movement or if you can get over a river, then you can fly up and down the river and not have to worry about people or anything like that. But if you have an inspire 2 with a parachute, then you can get closer and you can theres less less things stopping or influencing your flight.
Now i havent reached the point in my drone career, where im flying a mission that requires a parachute in the u.s. You do have to write out your own proposal and then, interestingly enough, that gets printed on the parachute. As of my understanding, i have a friend who does a lot of this work in chicago and everything he wrote. They then print that on the parachute um. Does that happen in canada too, or is that a us thing im just very curious uh how it works in canada is the its transport? Canada has set a standard, a technical standard for flight over people uh and its up to the manufacturer to declare that they meet that standard and if they declare that they meet that standard, then that goes on transport canadas website and then, as a as an operator. I can see that this product meets that standard and then i can use it. So i can. I can go online and i can see that my drone does not meet that standard. So dgi has not said to transport canada. Our drone is safe for over people. Dgi has specifically said: we meet the category that says you have to stay always 30 feet from people, but the parachute company has said if you put our product on the inspire 2 together with the technology of the drone, we assume the responsibility and we declare that That product is safe for flight over people, so, as a user theres no risk on me its the manual its the two manufacturers that are stating transport canada that they meet that standard so im using as a pilot im using a product.
Now that meets the standard for fly over people, okay and um. You know one more follow up, and maybe this has not even been created yet, but what would be the ideal drone in your opinion for news gathering um? What features would it offer? It would be able to fly in uh 60 kilometer an hour winds when its raining and when its minus 35 degrees celsius and if it met all of those, then i almost wouldnt care what the sensor was like for the camera. But after that you know obviously id get picky and ask for a better and better camera all the time, but really its its weather. That uh is probably our biggest hurdle in in shooting something right now. So if its windy out, we cant fly but and and news doesnt like to wait its not like you can go to the event and say you know time out, can we wait until this evening at golden hour, when the light is great and the wind has Died down like no, so we have to do it now so like really it would be uh uh weather is probably the the biggest factor that stops us from flying right now it used to be regulations, but theyve sort of smoothed that out and made our access To controlled airspace so much easier that we you know either either we can get access right now or we can use a sub 250. But if i use a sub 250, then the wind cant be higher than about 30 kilometers an hour and the temperature has to be above zero degrees celsius.
So theres a a lot of days in the calendar year where that doesnt happen. Its quite unfortunate right that you have those uh, those small drones, like the dji mini that that are awesome from a regulatory perspective, but then, when it comes to dealing with weather, theyre, of course, a challenge and you cant always use them um. I was wondering for for people that are looking to start a career or grow their career in the drone industry and, as you being a chief drone pilot yourself, what kind of recommendations would you have for somebody who pursues a career like that? Uh go online and get trained. Uh like go dont dont skip that part. Dont dont just get a drone and start flying do a little bit of research theres. So much information online available um start out by getting some finding some sites that that give you some information about the regulatory process and then, if you, if you feel like youre, going to go forward with it, actually take an accredited training course its no matter what It costs its so worth your time and investment itll come back to you tenfold awesome. I can echo that, but im biased. This is what we do in the u.s um we always have were getting towards the end of the show. Now we always have a question for our guest, which is what is your favorite drone to fly right now, its my fpv nasgol 5, which is this one right here? So if were just talking fun its definitely this one yeah.
But this is not what im using on a daily basis to get news shots, because it can only fly in class g airspace and i have to stay a hundred feet away from people. So just for pure enjoyment. It goes super fast, its acrobatic uh, its super fun and um. I i didnt know it when i got it, but it helps because its so its its made of bricks. It seems like yeah ive, crashed it a whole bunch of times, and it just keeps flying, and it has probably been the one thing that has improved my flying the most because im willing to take risks with it and push the envelope as a pilot and and Do things that i would never do with a dji product uh, especially like an inspire 2, or something like that and even flying fpv has made me a better dji pilot because im im willing to get closer to things im willing to trust uh. My screen a little bit more, i ive learned a different way of communicating with my observers, because when youre fpv youve got goggles on, you, cant see anything except what is in the front uh of the camera. So the dialogue and the communication that i have with my observer or observers has improved as well, whereas before i just wanted to tell me if my drone was going to hit something now im interested also in whats, going on around me whats that noise that i Hear coming up behind me that i have no idea: is there so its been an undetended consequence of flying fpv has been improvement in flying uh cinematic drones.
I guess! Well, i i have to say for on a personal note, listening to you this entire interview. As someone whos been in flight training, my whole life um im, really impressed with what you guys are doing and the way that youre looking at your operation, its its very rare that i hear people talking about risk assessment, risk management and looking at everything. As you do as a risk reward, so its very refreshing – and i i cant tell you how much i appreciate that from as a trainer uh on on my professional life, uh yeah its uh its something that uh what from the beginning uh. It was something that was important and it was something that was needed in the original permits to fly and because it was needed originally at the beginning of drones in canada, it sort of stayed in the process uh and its actually become a module in the training That we give and we talk about human factors and risk assessments and explaining to people that you know what risk assessments are youve already done them its, not a scary, word um and its its. The way that we get things done safely and its just sort of stayed in the the cbc collective from the very beginning, its a culture, its uh, its a safety culture. I love it um. I was gon na wrap up the show, but actually i have one more question. I think for you, trevor being an international organization as well.
Like whats, your whats, your opinion on having all these different set of rules in different countries. I mean if you have people flying in the u.s, or you have people flying in england or in canada and like the rules are different, i mean how do you deal with that from a training point of view, uh not easily, so i would say three. Four years ago, the way we dealt with it was to prohibit it, so none of our international employees were flying drones. More recently in london, england, one of our canadian approved pilots moved to the bureau in london, england, and once they got there, they took the well its difficult because of brexit its more complicated, but they took the the eu drone pilot license passed that then brexit happened. So they took the uk license so now, theyre a uk eu canadian approved pilot. So that has for that specific pilot that has opened up a lot of area, but we also have somebody in in moscow whos a resident there, so they have been up to date. On the rules there, but like in the united states, because we know that theres, the 107 waiver we at the moment were just none of our pilots fly in the u.s. We just hire a local company. If we need something were going to hire somebody locally. Who has the right training? Who knows the area its their backyard? They know it better than were going to know it so thats the way we we do that in the u.
s. But stuff comes up like like recently the news in haiti, so you go to haiti and you send people you get a call in the middle of the night youre going to haiti. Okay, can i take a drone? I dont know like what are the rules in haiti, so were training our people so that they know the canadian rules. So at least when you get to a place like haiti that maybe maybe it has some kind of rule but its hard to find and youre. Not sure at least when you get there youre youre following the cbc operations manual youre following canadian laws, even if youre, not in canada at least then youre youre going to be safe, even if youre, even if theres no legal reason to do that. Uh theres a safety reason from our point of view to just to operate that way. Yeah thats, thats, awesome information. I mean i can imagine how challenging it must be because, especially when you, when you go to places like haiti, the rules i dont even know if there are, if there are specific drone rules but likely theyll, be very different. I think from here in the u.s and in canada um, i think, were pretty much coming to the end of our interview. Thank you. So much for being on the show travis its awesome, to hear your experience and kind of pick, your brain on all these different topics and how drones are being used in the news.
I think its its really really awesome uh for all the people. Listening to our show, thank you so much for for being our audience and listening to this uh. If you enjoyed the pixel drone, show then please be sure to subscribe and like and share it with your friends. It helps us much more than than you might realize. Um we air our episodes every tuesday morning, so this show will go, live on tuesday and then next week well be back with another show. Thank you guys. So much and well see you soon thanks.