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Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems/Drones

Working with Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS)/Drones 

  • All RPAS operations must be in accordance with Canadian Aviation Regulations
  • The RPA must be registered with Transport Canada
  • The RPA must be marked with its registration number
  • The pilot must have passed the Small Advanced Exam
  • The pilot must have passed a flight review
  • The pilot must be in possession of a Pilot Certificate – Advanced, and proof of registration, when operating a drone
  • Operations in controlled airspace (Classes C, D or E): An RPA cannot be operated in controlled airspace without a written RPAS Flight Authorization from NAV Canada
  • Drones must meet the safety requirements of the operation being conducted. Manufacturer’s safety assurance is required for RPASs used in all advanced operations 

What Production Safety Needs

WBD Safety requires the following information from the vendor prior to RPAS operations: 

Plan of activity with a map including: 

  • Takeoff/Landing zones
  • Operation boundaries
  • Flight path/altitude
  • Safe zone for crew members not directly involved in flight operations
  • Emergency landing zones and procedures 
  • Obstructions to be avoided  
  • Any additional written safety guidelines for film crew (if available) 
  • Pre-flight inspection and flight crew briefing procedures 

It is sufficient to include the above information in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Questionnaire which is required to be submitted to and approved by WBD Risk Management for all RPAS operations. 

Can my crew member fly a drone?  

No crew member can fly a drone on productions. Only third-party vendors with all safety and insurance requirements can fly a drone on production. 

Additional Safety Protocols: 

  • Production should follow all safety protocols as outlined by the RPAS operator.
  • Visual Observers are to have no other duties during drone flight.
  • If planning to fly a drone within 15 meters (50 feet) of actors or crew, or within 10 meters (30 feet) of stunt performers, contact the Production Safety Representative in advance of the scheduled activity.
  • Do not fly a drone from a moving vehicle except when operating in a sparsely populated area.
  • If the drone pilot is a film crew member with other responsibilities, they may not assume those responsibilities while participating in any activities related to the drone flight (i.e. pre-flight inspection, flying, etc.). Note that all safety and insurance requirements are the same as for any third-party vendor. 
  • Attach Safety Bulletin #36 – Recommended Guidelines for Safely Working Around UAS to all Call Sheets.
  • Hold a pre-flight safety briefing (review safety guidelines, flight plan, and emergency procedures) with all cast and crew.
  • Limit other radio frequency use during flight operations to reduce risk of drone control failure.