Beyond visual line-of-sight (BVLOS) operations are for specific and defined operating environments. We can authorize these operations when an operational risk assessment has been completed to mitigate potential risks to people and aircraft sharing that airspace.
This allows operators to explore new drone applications that can take advantage of Canada’s vast geography. Drones have the potential to serve isolated regions, lower population densities, and large pockets of uncontrolled airspace with minimal airspace traffic.
On this page
- Benefits of flying beyond visual line-of sight
- Where to fly beyond visual line-of-sight
- What you need to fly beyond visual line-of-sight
- After you apply for an SFOC-RPAS
Benefits of flying beyond visual-line-of sight
Drones can offer many economic and social benefits to Canadians. When flown in beyond visual line-of-sight conditions, a drone operator can increase the range and capability of a drone, offering new applications in:
- public safety for search and rescue missions in life-saving circumstances
- delivery services to remote and rural communities
- long-range surveys, infrastructure inspections and precision agriculture
Where to fly beyond visual line-of-sight
Eligible drone operators can fly their drones beyond visual line-of-sight in:
- Isolated areas, outside of concentrated population centres that are dispersed at a density of less than 0.1 persons per square kilometer
- Populated areas, outside of concentrated population centres that are dispersed at a density of less than 5 persons per square kilometer. You can verify the population density of your operating area based on Statistics Canada’s Aggregate Dissemination Areas available online. In cases where the main Geography page is unavailable, an alternative GeoSearch is available (note that this link also provides access to archived Census data, so care should be taken to ensure that the most recent available data is being used).
- Atypical airspace such as:
- Northern Domestic Airspace outside airports at or below 400 ft above ground level (AGL)
- Restricted Airspace with permission
- 100 feet or less above any building or structure, less than 200 feet horizontally
- Uncontrolled Airspace (Class G airspace) where no air traffic control service is provided
- More than 5 nautical miles from any aerodrome listed in the Canada Flight Supplement
What you need to fly beyond visual line-of-sight
You will need a Special Flight Operations Certificate for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (SFOC-RPAS). To get one, you will need to:
- read and understand Advisory Circular 903-001 – RPAS Operational Risk Assessment
- review the SFOC-RPAS Checklist for CAR 903.01(b), sent to you after your application
- confirm that your Concept of Operations is within an area as detailed above
- confirm that your operation is in atypical airspace, or uncontrolled airspace
- complete the Operational Risk Assessment (ORA) process for your operation, outlined in AC 903 -001
- submit the Application for a Special Flight Operations Certificate RPAS form, and the ORA documentation to TC.RPASCentre-CentreSATP.TC@tc.gc.ca
After you apply for an SFOC-RPAS
Submit your application well in advance of your planned operations to allow time for processing. Additional time may be needed to review more complex applications. A regional inspector may contact applicants for additional information during the review process.