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Transport Canada Approves DJI Drones Equipped with Parachute System for Flight Over People

BY Isabella Lee
25 July 2019

Permission to conduct operations over people just became much more obtainable for drone operators in Canada.

ParaZero Technologies, leading provider of safety systems for commercial drones, recently announced that its SafeAir Systems for the DJI Phantom 4 Series and DJI Mavic 2 Series comply with the latest Transport Canada regulations for operations over people. This allows licensed operators using the SafeAir Mavic + ASTM Professional Kit and the SafeAir Phantom + ASTM Professional Kit to operate over people, effective immediately.

SafeAir Mavic

New Drone Laws in Effect for Canada’s Drone Operators

New drone regulations when into effect for Canada on June 1st, 2019. These rules introduced two categories of drones operations: basic and advanced. Advanced operations include flights in controlled airspace, flights near people and flights over people.

To conduct advanced operations (including flights over/near people), drone pilots must:

  • Obtain a Pilot Certificate – Advanced Operations. To get this certificate, they must pass the Small Advanced Exam and an in-person flight review. The flight review will assess a pilot’s ability to operate their drone safely.
  • Fly with an approved drone that meets RPAS Safety Assurance standards.
  • Survey their flight area, taking note of any obstacles, such as buildings and power lines.

Transport Canada allows manufacturers or modifiers of UAS to declare compliance with the Safety Assurance standards required to conduct advanced operations.

In a recent announcement, leading drone manufacturer DJI declared that nine of its models meet Transport Canada’s standards for advanced operations in controlled airspace and operations near people (5 to 30 meters horizontally from people). However, the approved DJI drones must be equipped with ParaZero’s SafeAir Systems + ASTM Professional Kit in order to be used for operations over people.

Testing and Approval of ParaZero’s SafeAir System

ParaZero’s declaration of compliance with the Transport Canada regulation is supported by the SafeAir’s compliance with ASTM F3322-18 Standard Specification for drone parachutes.

The ASTM standard requires an autonomous triggering system to detect failures and deploy the parachute without relying on the RPIC (remote-pilot-in-command) as well as a flight termination system to stop the motors from spinning.

To put the parachute system to the ultimate test, the ASTM standard requires over 45 aerial deployments of the parachute system in all failure scenarios validated by a third-party testing agency.

Through the ASTM testing, 3rd party validation, and customer adoption, our system has proven to be the best-performing system on the market, and we are proud to have them enable the expanded use of drones in Canada and elsewhere.

—Avi Lozowick, VP of Policy and Strategy at ParaZero

See the ParaZero SafeAir System deploy with the DJI Mavic 2 in the video below.

ParaZero's SafeAir Mavic

Regulatory Framework For Operations Over People Advances in Canada and the U.S.

Transport Canada’s new regulatory system makes flights over people, near people, and in controlled airspace more attainable. This can greatly benefit operators in the emergency services and first response industries who need to act quickly and will no longer be slowed down by a lengthy waiver or approval process.

Additionally, other commercial operators in a variety of fields such as construction, land surveying, and inspections will also benefit from the ability to perform advanced operations with tested and safety approved SafeAir equipped drones.

Transport Canada’s new regulations and manufacturer declaration framework are a truly innovative approach to drone regulation. The fact that operators are not required to apply for specific approvals and waivers to unlock the capability of flight over people reduces significant friction from the process and allows the Canadian drone industry to continue to innovate and excel.

—Eden Attias, CEO of ParaZero

In the U.S., operations over people still require a waiver from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). To date, ParaZero’s SafeAir Systems are the only ASTM compliant parachute systems in use in the United States under FAA waivers for operations over people.

The first-ever FAA waiver for sustained operations over people with a parachute system was granted to North Dakota operator, Botlink, on September 29, 2018. And recently, ParaZero’s SafeAir System was responsible for another approval for operations over people granted on June 1, 2019, to Hensel Phelps Construction Company of Washington, D.C.

Waivers to operate over people remain one of the most difficult approvals to obtain under current FAA regulations in the U.S. However, at the beginning of 2019, the FAA shared a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would allow flights over people under similar standards to those just put in place by Transport Canada.

Like Transport Canada, the FAA is considering maintaining a list of approved drones from manufacturers who prove that their drone meets specific criteria for operations over people. The NPRM proposes that drone greater than 0.55 lbs. can be flown over people if the manufacturer has proven that a resulting injury to any person will be under a specified severity threshold.

Should the system proposed under the NPRM come to pass, ParaZero SafeAir System may provide a path for manufacturers to meet the criteria and become FAA-approved for operations over people.

What do you think of ParaZero’s SafeAir System and its embrace by Transport Canada? Join this discussion on our community forum to share your thoughts.

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