What to Check Before You Fly
When planning a flight with your drone, make sure to know the airspace surrounding your operation.
The National Research Council has an interactive drone map for convenience: https://nrc.canada.ca/en/drone-tool/
This tool is being continually improved but has some notable discrepancies.
You should check for current airspace conditions using the following documents:
- Canadian Flight Supplement (CFS) – particulars of every aerodrome in Canada. Register for a free account at https://www.fltplan.com/
- Designated Airspace Handbook (DAH) – particulars of all designated airspace in Canada. https://www.navcanada.ca/EN/products-and-services/Documents/DAH_Next_En.pdf
- Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs) – temporary airspace changes or hazards to flight. https://plan.navcanada.ca/wxrecall/
The airspace libraries on your RPAS control software are also convenient, but data products from companies including DJI and Parot have been shown to be wildly inaccurate in practice.
Basic vs Advanced Operations
An advanced RPAS pilot certificate is required for operations in controlled airspace, near or over people, and over City of Saskatoon property (this includes parks, alleyways, streets, easements, the river valley, and public recreation areas).
Basic operations are allowed in Class G airspace, away from people who are not involved in your operation.
When to Coordinate with Nav Canada
Nav Canada coordination is required for flights near or under low level controlled airspace.
Since airspace around many controlled airports is an “upside down birthday cake” you may be fully in class G airspace but still require coordination.
When in doubt, it is safest to submit a coordination request for a new area you are operating.
If no coordination is required Nav Canada will send a reply letting you know.