RPAS, (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems) Licensing Guide:

Recently, MAAC, (Model Aeronautics Association of Canada), lost an exemption they had in place with the Ministry of Transport and Transport Canada that allowed people to fly recreational radio controlled, (R/C), aircraft at MAAC sanctioned flying clubs/sites without any regulation besides safety regulations governed by MAAC.

As a result of losing this exemption, all R/C aircraft with the flying weight of 250g and up are now considered RPAS, (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems), and all pilots flying them now have to adhere to Transport Canada's, (TC's), requirements for a Basic or Advanced RPAS License, and all aircraft they pilot need to be registered and have their registration number displayed on the aircraft.

As of right now, in order to fly at MAAC santioned sites, MAAC now requires all members to have their RPAS License and for them to fly under TC's RPAS regulations. However, let's not give up all hope, MAAC is still working very hard to reestablish exemptions for our hobby. So hopefully, this RPAS License requirement will be temporary.

Unfortunately, regardless of whether or not you fly your R/C aircraft at a MAAC sanctioned club/site, you are required by Canadian law to have your RPAS license and your aircraft registered in order to fly an RPAS, which they consider your R/C aircraft to be, along with commercially available drones.

In order to fly your R/C aircraft legally, you will need, at bare minimum, your Basic RPAS license, which covers aircraft between 250g and 25kg in weight. To fly an aircraft greater than 25kg in weight, or within Canadian Controlled Airspace, you will need your Advanced RPAS License.

Acquiring your Basic RPAS license is relatively easy and can be done online in less than an hour and a half, (the time limit to do your exam). You will also need to register your R/C plane/helicopter as a Drone, or RPAS, which you will then be required to display your registration number on your aircraft. (And, yes, you are required to register each plane/heli/aircraft individually).

Should you need it, acquiring your Advanced RPAS license is more in depth, and may require going to an Advanced Drone Flight School, and does require a flight review with a certified Drone Flight instructor.

You can obtain both your license and your aircraft registration at the Transport Canada Drone Portal. This is a government site that you will need to login to by creating an account and logging in by either a GCKey, or through a Sign-in Partner, (through Interac and your Bank).

We're not going to rehash good information that's already out there, so instead here is an excellent Youtube video by Don Joyce outlining what you need to study for and pass your RPAS exam:

The RPAS License exam is open book and it's highly recommended to have the pertinent documents open, either in your browser, or on PDF, while you do your exam for quick reference. Google is also a very good tool to have open as well. Here are links to the documents you should have open while doing your exam:

More information as to why this came about and what we can maybe do about it:

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