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Referred to as the heart of the Forks, Winnipeg is Manitoba’s capital and a bustling city with the aforementioned historic district, greenspace, and the Exchange District with a distinctive 20th century flair.
You’d love to witness this cityscape with your drone in tow. Can you fly a drone in Winnipeg?
You can use a drone in Winnipeg but must follow Transport Canada drone laws. You can’t fly within 50 meters of vehicles or people, you cannot ascend over 122 meters, and you can’t use your drone within 150 meters of a building unless you have the owner’s permission.
This guide to using a drone in Winnipeg will tell you everything you need to know, including where you can and can’t fly and the drone laws.
Let’s get started!
Can you fly a drone in Winnipeg? #
From nature to architecture and elegant cityscapes, Winnipeg has it all. It’s no wonder it’s such a major attraction to drone pilots.
Transport Canada makes drone usage laws for the country of Canada.
According to those laws, drones can operate throughout Canada, including Winnipeg. However, you must follow Transport Canada’s rules, which we’ll discuss more a little bit later.
Where you can’t fly a drone in Winnipeg #
To help you safely plan drone operations in Winnipeg, let’s discuss where you can’t operate a UAV and where you’re severely limited.
Indoor environments #
Technically, you can fly your drone indoors on your own property. Is it the wisest idea? Absolutely not, as the close quarters of an indoor environment can make controlling a drone difficult.
A drone can also wreak havoc and destruction indoors, annihilating your valuables, often past the point of no return. However, the activity is allowed.
That doesn’t apply if you don’t own the property. Then, you must have the verbal or written permission of the landowner to operate your drone over the property.
Advertised events #
Sporting events and outdoor concerts are two examples of advertised events, but any other event that’s advertised online, in media publications, on the radio, or on television counts.
You cannot operate your drone during these events without a Special Flight Operations Certificate.
Emergency sites #
Emergency sites include traffic accidents. They differ from disasters such as earthquakes, forest fires, and floods, but both still require your drone to maintain a reasonable distance.
If you’re near an emergency site or disaster with your UAV, you could impede the efforts of emergency responders.
National and provincial parks #
Throughout Canada, drones cannot operate in national and provincial parks.
Winnipeg has a handful of provincial parks, including:
- Duff Roblin Provincial Park
- Memorial Provincial Park
- St. Norbert Provincial Heritage Park
- Upper Fort Garry Heritage Provincial Park
- Trappist Monastery Provincial Park
- Bakers Narrows Provincial Park and more
Map your drone route away from these parks when flying in Winnipeg.
Aerodromes, heliports, water airports, and airports #
Transport Canada prohibits drone pilots from operating closer than one nautical mile from any certified heliport and three miles from any certified airport, including water airports.
You can apply for flight permission, but you’d need a Special Flight Operations Certificate to even be eligible.
Winnipeg is the home of the Winnipeg Richardson International Airport. This image courtesy of the Winnipeg Airports Authority outlines the radius of the airport.
Winnipeg drone usage laws to know #
We’ll devote the rest of this article to covering Transport Canada’s drone laws for operations in Winnipeg and beyond.
» MORE: Can You Fly a Drone in Jasper?
Do not fly your drone more than 122 meters from the ground #
Transport Canada doesn’t only regulate drone usage but all aviation in Canada. Drones cannot ascend more than 122 meters or 400 feet from the ground to safeguard manned aircraft.
The 400-foot limit is standard, so it should be ingrained in you already if you’re a more experienced pilot.
Avoid vehicles and people #
Drones cannot fly more than 50 meters near people to protect the privacy and safety of Winnipeg’s citizens if the UAV weighs under one kilogram.
Heavier drones over one kilogram must stay 75 meters from crowds.
You’re also prohibited from flying any closer than that to vehicles, as your drone can be a safety hazard.
Remember, you will receive a fine if you break these rules. Transport Canada charges solo pilots $3,000 CAD for risking people, and it’s $15,000 CAD for corporations.
Your drone must stay in your line of sight #
VLOS, or visual line of sight, is a must when operating a drone in Canada, whether that’s an FPV drone or a standard UAV. If the drone strays more than 500 meters from you, it’s outside VLOS.
Since you can’t see your drone at that distance, there’s no way for you to control it. At that point, your drone becomes a risk to civilians and vehicles, and continued operation is illegal.
Only use your drone during daylight hours #
Although the thought of exploring Winnipeg via drone after dark sounds cool, it has to remain just a thought.
You cannot fly your drone before the sun rises or after it sets in Canada without special permission.
You must mark your drone #
Transport Canada prefers pilots flying after dark to mark their drones, but even those commercial and hobbyist pilots who fly by day still need a form of identification on their drones.
The mark can include details written in a permanent marker or a sticker. You must include your name and street address, even if you don’t live in Canada.
Flying an unmarked drone can lead to a fine of $1,000 CAD for solo pilots and $5,000 CAD for corporations from Transport Canada.
You must have drone insurance #
Before launching a drone in Canada, you must have liability insurance.
Transport Canada mandates insurance premiums at $100,000 CAD per drone occurrence and up to $300,000 CAD for bodily death and/or injury by drone.
You must have an operator certificate #
In Canada, an operator certificate is like the TRUST license or Remote Pilot Certificate in the US.
Your operator license will last five years. The license only permits you to use a specific type of drone and limits your flight radius.
Make sure you follow the rules of the license type you have.
You must register your drone #
If your drone weighs 250 grams to 25 kilograms, you cannot operate it in Canada without registering it. That’s the case for manufactured and custom-built drones alike.
You must have an account with Transport Canada to access the Drone Management Portal and get the registration process underway. The portal is also where you’ll test for your drone license.
If you decide to deregister your drone or transfer drone ownership elsewhere, you can do all this through the Drone Management Portal.
Transport Canada states that it takes three minutes to register your drone.
You need to know the:
- Purchase date
- Drone type
- Make and model
- Serial number
You will pay to register your drone.
However, failing to register it is far costlier. You’ll receive a fine of $1,000 CAD as an unregistered solo pilot and $5,000 CAD as an unregistered corporation using drones.
Under Transport Canada rules, you can fly a drone in Winnipeg. But what about Vancouver? .
owever, you’re prohibited from using the drone in many locations, such as over private property without permission, close to airports, in a national or municipal park, or during advertised events.
You also can’t disrupt emergency operations with your UAV.
Further, drone laws in the country limit how close you can fly to buildings and crowds, so always take heed before you launch your drone!