Autel Drones Grounded in Canadian Skies: No Takeoff in Controlled Airspace

Transport Canada has restricted Autel drones from operating in all controlled airspace in Canada. This means they cannot be flown near airports, populated areas, or other sensitive locations without special permission.

This restriction effectively renders Autel drones unusable for most commercial applications and recreational flights that require controlled airspace access.

What changed? Canada has a list of drones that it says can be used, that list has shrunk in the last week from 642 to 548, it might be more as you read this. The manufacturers that have disappeared have not sent in the required paperwork to stay on the list or proved that their machines meet requirements.

I don’t for a second think that Autel drones would not be compliant. Somebody at Autel might be having a long weekend crossing the i’s and dotting the t’s.

The current approved list is at the link below, more on this story as I wake up and realise what other big brands have gone.

https://tc.canada.ca/en/aviation/drone-safety/learn-rules-you-fly-your-drone/choosing-right-drone

The RPAS Safety Assurance tells you what advanced operations your drone is approved for.

These include flying your drone:

  • in controlled airspace
  • near or above people

You must operate your drone within the limits outlined in the RPAS Safety Assurance declared by the drone manufacturer. Manufacturers may self-declare to Transport Canada that specific models of drones meet the requirements for advanced operations.

Drones are listed only if they have an RPAS Safety Assurance declaration submitted by their manufacturer. If your drone isn’t listed, the manufacturer may have yet to submit the declaration or the declaration is yet to be reviewed. You’ll be issued a new registration certificate if the declaration is submitted. Contact your drone’s manufacturer to ask if a declaration will be submitted.

Note: RPAS Safety Assurance declarations may be invalidated after being listed below. If you have a registered RPAS that has been invalidated, you will be notified by email that it no longer qualifies for Advanced Operations and you will be issued an updated registration certificate.

Categories of advanced operations:

  • Controlled airspace – flying your drone within airspace controlled by air traffic control (Class A-F)
  • Near people – flying your drone within 30 metres (100 feet) and 5 metres (16.4 feet) of any person not associated with the operation
  • Over people – flying your drone within 5 metres (16.4 feet) or directly over any person not associated with the operation