Survey Says! Full Results from the Drone Pilot Association of Canada Membership Survey
I cannot believe the turnout on the drone pilot association of canadas, first membership survey and interesting insights as well lets check it out. As a quick reminder, the drone pilot association of canada or d pac is an advocacy group addressing transport canada with the concerns of recreational and light commercial drone pilots. Our primary objective is to apply our influence in order to improve the drone regulatory environment, including the rules, exams, certification, airspace restrictions, procedures and fee structures. Deepak membership is totally free and theres a link in the description. If youd like to become a member, the membership survey was sent out on june the 2nd and closed on june, the 8th. It will be used by the deepak steering committee to ensure our activities and focus areas align with our memberships perspectives. As of june, the 8th we have 982 members signed up to d pac. We received survey results from 502 of you guys are 51 of the members, which is fantastic. We had 80 percent of our responses within 24 hours of the survey being launched and the remaining 20 came in over the subsequent five days. There were 10 questions in the survey, starting with a section on understanding more about yourselves. Question 1 asked about your age. 45 of the respondents said they were over 60 years old or years young, depending on your perspective, followed by almost the same percentage, 42 percent being between 41 and 60.. The remaining 13 are between 21 and 40.
. So yeah, i guess, were a bunch of geezers. I suppose thats not politically correct, but hey im a card carrying geezer myself. So i guess i can say it, but is that significantly different in terms of distribution than the general population? Well, heres the canadian population for those over 14 years old to be comparable to the drone pilot ages using the same age ranges and yes, respondents to the survey, and maybe drone pilots in general tend to be older than the general population. Moving on to gender. We are definitely wildly out of whack from the general population, with 97 of our respondents. Identifying, as male are drones, that much of a guy thing i mean for other stem related activities, and by stem i mean science, technology, engineering and mathematics. There is a heavy male dominance about 70 or 80, depending on who you ask, but here we have 97, its very weird question: three was languages, 98 of respondents were fluent in english and 18 fluent in french, compared to the general population, were more heavily weighted towards English in deepak lots of other languages also, which was really interesting to see and, of course, theres, a joker in every crowd, c, plus, plus ha in terms of geography. We have pretty close to everywhere covered across the country with a big presence in ontario bc, alberta and quebec. But how does this differ from the general population distribution funny? You might ask that again.
The red candles here show canadian population distribution and the blue candles are survey, respondents ontario bc and alberta are generally over represented and quebec is definitely underrepresented, at least for survey respondents. The last of the tell us about yourself. Questions was question: five aside from drone training, how much aviation experience do you have fully 75 of the respondents said they had little or no aviation experience, and this would certainly explain the usual response to the drone exams which are deeply steeped in aviation culture. What the heck is a no tam, and why do i need to know about it, but i digress lets stick to the survey. The next section was focusing in on your drone experience and some really interesting stuff started to appear question 6. What level of drone pilot certification have you achieved? Not surprisingly, roughly half of you have your basic and a big chunk. 27 percent have the advanced with a further seven percent, having passed the advanced exam, but not yet having taken the flight review and i was glad to see a number of flight reviewers themselves in deepak. To me, the surprise was the 15, who had no level of certification and yet were keen enough to be on board with deepak and spend the time answering the survey. Presumably, these folks are flying sub 250 gram drones, which gets us to the next question. What kinds of drones or rc aircraft do you fly? This was a select all that apply kind of question, so its a bit difficult to interpret everything from just this one graph, but lets walk through a few key points, starting with drones.
78 percent of us fly drones between 250 grams and 10 kilos, the classic mavics air, 2ss, phantoms and so forth. 67 of us have drones under 250 grams and there are few that fly bigger beasts, including one person who flies a drone over 25 kilograms, and we see a similar sort of distribution for rc aircraft just with smaller numbers. So i dug a bit deeper into this. I did some pivot tables and filtering and other excel magic and discovered the following little gems. First of all, only one person of the 502 who answered the survey does not fly a drone that individual is rc aircraft only. Otherwise we all fly drones. Thirteen percent of us also fly rc aircraft, so roughly one in seven now, 67 percent of us have sub 250 gram. Drones, like i said, but 21 of us, fly only sub 250 gram drones, which explains the point on the previous slide, where 15 percent have no certification, which of course, is all good if youre flying sub 250 gram drones. Two other interesting points. 87 of us fly more than one drone, at least by weight class and pretty much. The same applies on the rc aircraft world with 86 flying more than one rc aircraft again by weight class question. Eight was asking about what kinds of things you do with your drones and i ask you to provide a percentage for each category of flight operation type. The numbers on this chart represent the average score for each category, so on average respondents use recreational camera drones on 74 percent of their flights.
Recreational fpv drones and rc aircraft also scored highly, as did light commercial work with a 32. I guess it shouldnt be a surprise to see those scores when the deepak organization is in fact, mostly focused on recreational and, like commercial drone, pilots great to see reasonable numbers of first responders research flights, training activities and even large scale commercial work. Again, i did a little bit further analysis of the raw data and discovered these interesting stats. 57 percent of the respondents fly only recreationally. They answered 100 percent on one or more of the recreational categories, and 82 percent fly mostly recreationally scoring over 50 percent. In a recreational category, 82, on the other hand, fully 19 do not fly recreationally at all and looking at light, commercial work, 35 indicated that they did some level of light commercial flying. Even if that was a tiny amount and 14 percent said they did light commercial flights over half the time. This brings us to the last section of the survey intended to help the deepak steering committee determine where to spend our time and energy question nine offered a selection of activities to choose, as our number one priority, with the opportunity to write in your own ideas as Well, forty percent of respondents chose the rationalization or fixing of the basic exam knowledge areas, as our number one priority, with the intent to have more emphasis on drone safety versus the weird generic aviation knowledge. The second most popular option was cleaning up the regulations to remove overly restrictive elements, lots of votes for the other activities too further tiering of pilot licenses, improving public perception of drones and municipal issues and ill get to the ideas offered for the other category.
The write ins in a moment, but before we get to that lets, look at your second priority answers. Astonishingly, it was almost a dead heat for all the other options, with cleaning up of regulations ahead of the pack by oh, maybe, a nose to me. This means there are a lot of issues out there facing drone pilots and we see them from very different perspectives. So if we have some success with the exam area, our number one priority, it should be interesting trying to decide what comes next lets round this off by going through some of the write in proposals from those of you who chose other as the top priority. There were 41 of these in total across the first and second priority questions: nine questions, nine and ten and ive paraphrased them a little bit for this presentation. One that appeared several times was the notion of focusing on the advanced exam knowledge area instead of the basic and sure this makes sense in reality. Well, probably, try to do both at once anyways another topic with more than one submission related to parks and the seemingly ad hoc restrictions we see all over the place. The next two are perhaps related people wanted to see proposals for reasonable beef loss beyond visual line of sight regulations and the other one is further support for search and rescue operations, which often, of course, require beef loss operations, amongst other things. Now this one was interesting.
This person has introduced the notion of non navigable airspace for manned aircraft, say low level areas or in built up urban areas. The idea is, if manned aircraft cant fly there well, drones should be allowed much greater freedom in those zones without the need for authorization requests. For example, a similar idea from someone else having a one time unlock for advanced pilots at low altitudes and here are some more several people suggested. We recommend tc introduce very basic licensing tests for everyone, including for pilots of sub 250 gram drones, something like the american trust test. I did a video on this a while ago, very simple and educational, more than a test, its really just an educational exercise, helping retailers educate, drone pilots improve the perception of both drones and rc aircraft, make it easier for foreign pilots to fly here and finally participating In committees where the regulations are being updated, all great ideas and suggestions, i want to thank everyone who participated in the survey. It will really help the deepak steering committee focus on the key areas of concern to you guys and the write in suggestions offer some terrific ideas as well. Hey if you havent, already joined deepak, please do so at dronepilotassociationofcanada.com. Membership is free and each and every membership is crucial to ensure we have a strong mandate and unified voice that transport canada will recognize and respect.