Where to fly your drone

Drones share airspace with other drones and aircraft. Knowing where to fly your drone is an important part of keeping the skies safe.

On this page

Check an interactive map

The National Research Council has created an interactive map. The map helps drone operators understand airspace and find out where to fly.

It is for your convenience only. Read the disclaimer before using it.

Sharing airspace

If you fly a drone in Canada, you must follow the rules that help keep people and aircraft safe.

All drone operations

Prior to each flight, drone pilots must conduct a survey of the area and also consult:

NOTAMs tell pilots about event and obstacles that may affect them. All NOTAMs include the time and location of the event. Enter the ID of an aerodrome near you into the NAV CANADA NOTAMs portal to find NOTAMs in your area.

Any chart that has aeronautical information relevant to the flight will do. This may include aeronautical charts listed on the NAV CANADA website.

Controlled airspace

Drone pilots must get air traffic control approval for operations in controlled airspace. For airspace controlled by NAV CANADA, request a RPAS Flight Authorization. For controlled airspace under the authority of the Minister of National Defence (MND), you must request a flight authorization from the appropriate aerodrome authorities, this information can be found in the Canada Flight Supplement (CFS) or on the NRC Drone Site Selection Tool.

To operate within controlled airspace, the pilot needs an advanced RPA pilot certificate, a drone with the appropriate manufacturer safety declaration and the air navigation service provider approval.

Drone pilots must maintain communications with the air traffic control authority while flying. For more information on operations in controlled airspace, please visit section 3.4.4 of the RPA chapter of Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).

Areas that limit the use of drones

Airports, heliports and aerodromes

An aerodrome is anywhere that an aircraft can take off and land. This includes airports, heliports, and seaplane bases.

Unless you are following an established Transport Canada procedure, you cannot fly closer than:

Airport, water airport or heliports outside of controlled airspace

Drone pilots planning to fly in uncontrolled airspace, and within 3 nautical miles of a certified airport, or within 1 nautical mile from a certified heliport must always have a valid drone pilot certificate - advanced operations and comply with Transport Canada established procedures. Transport Canada established procedures can be found in the section 3.4.5 of the RPA chapter of Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM), and on the NRC Drone Site Selection tool.

Operations within 3 nautical miles of a Department of National Defense (MND) aerodrome

Drone operations within 3 nautical miles (5.6 kilometers) of an aerodrome under the authority of the MND require a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) - RPAS. To be issued a SFOC-RPAS, the drone pilot must receive authorization from the MND aerodrome authorities.

For more information about these zones and how to properly access them, please consult the NRC Drone Site Selection tool and section 3.2.35 of the RPA chapter of Transport Canada Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).

National parks

Drone pilots are not allowed to take-off or land within a national park.

A park superintendent may allow the use of drones in some cases. If you want to fly a drone in a national park, read about the use of drones at Parks Canada places and contact Parks Canada.

Emergency sites

Drone pilots are not allowed to fly within the security perimeter of a police or first responder emergency operation, such as a traffic accident. You must also avoid sites near disasters (forest fires, floods, earthquakes). A drone flying near these areas may interfere with emergency personnel aircraft and the work of emergency personnel.

Advertised events

Drone pilots are not allowed to fly near or over advertised events, such as outdoor concerts and sporting events, unless they have a Special Flight Operations Certificate that specifically allows them to do so.

Indoors, near and over buildings

Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations do not apply to indoor or underground drone operations. No matter where you fly, however, you must fly safely and always respect all other laws so as not to pose danger to people or other aircraft. Before you fly indoors, or near or over buildings, we recommend getting permission from the building owner and/or occupants.

Related links

Know before you go!
Where can you fly your drone?

(PDF 628 Kb)

Text description

Know before you go!
Where can you fly your drone? 250 g – 25 kg

Register your drone and get your basic or advanced drone pilot certificate at: Canada.ca/drone-safety

Use this map to find a safe site to fly your drone: https://nrc.canada.ca/en/uav-site-selection/

Always respect the privacy of others while flying

Fly your drone:

  • where you can see it at all times
  • below 122 m (400 ft)
  • 1.9 km from heliports / 5.6 km from airports and outside controlled airspace
  • away from emergency sites and advertised events (concerts, parades)

Basic operations:

  • Fly 30 m horizontally from bystanders

Advanced operations:

For eligible drones

  • Get permission from NAV CANADA to fly in controlled airspace: navcanada.ca/rpas
  • Fly near or over bystanders

Canada.ca/drone-safety

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