Restatement of MAAC Position Regarding Federal Regulations

Publié: 26 mai, 2017

Date: May 6 2017

The MAAC directors have been receiving messages from a few of its members and a few non-members, asking why the Model Aeronautics Association of Canada (MAAC), never spoke or lobbied for the folks that were flying outside of the MAAC organization. This is a draft response to those people.
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With the recent announcements from Transport Canada, we would like to take this opportunity to provide clarification in regards the role MAAC played in advocating for all recreational hobbyists.

The "Interim Order" restricting recreational modellers that was issued in March by the current federal government has added to confusion surrounding MAAC's role. The "Interim Order" was an independent initiative from the Transport Minister, conceived outside the established consultation/legislative process. MAAC had no direct input on the restrictions imposed by the Minister within the noted Interim order. Details can be reviewed here:

https://www.canada.ca/en/transport-canada/news/2017/03/new_safety_rulesforrecreationaldroneusetakeimmediateeffect.html
In order to understand MAAC's role in this process, one must first understand the "process". A formal Civil Aviation Regulatory Advisory Council (CARAC) committee was established by Transport Canada in 2010. The "Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) Systems Program Design Working Group" was tasked with building the legislative framework for the integration of All Unmanned Aircraft into Canadian Airspace.

Although commercial interests drove the impetus for this working group, the MAAC BOD of that time recognized the potential impact on the recreational hobbyist and took membership in this working group. MAAC is one, amongst many interest groups, that contributed, and continues to participate within this legislative process.

The group's mandate was broken into four phases of work with the first being the most critical to hobbyist; "Under 25kgs - Operated within visual range of the operator". MAAC's primary goal within this working group was not to create rules governing commercial unmanned aircraft, but rather to negate/minimize the impact of any future legislation on recreational hobbyists.

The final report submitted to Transport Canada contained no references to restricting / regulating the recreational hobbyist. That report can be found here:

http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/NPA-APM/doc.aspx?id=10298

This "phase 1" report is the foundation upon which Transport Canada has built the pending first round of changes to the Canadian Air Regulations (CARs), the first draft of which is expected this month to be published in "Gazette 1". This set of formal regulations, dealing with unmanned aircraft under 25kgs operated within visual range, will contain permanent changes to the CARs and are MAAC's primary focus for what should be obvious reasons.

As part of the legislative process in preparing changes to the CARs, Transport Canada issued a "Notice of Proposed Amendments" (NPA) back in May of 2015. MAAC's efforts can clearly be seen within the NPA as Transport Canada recognized MAAC along with the need to "carve out" traditional recreational hobbyists. That document can be found here:

http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Saf-Sec-Sur/2/NPA-APM/doc.aspx?id=10294

MAAC is recognized within the NPA on page 3. Beginning on page 11, you will find the specific section that asks for responses on how to "carve out" traditional model enthusiasts.

MAAC prepared formal responses to this NPA, which is contained within two documents that can be found in their entirety on our website here:

1. https://secure.maac.ca/get_document.php?document_id=123
2. https://secure.maac.ca/get_document.php?document_id=124

The following statement contained at the top of document "2" clearly states MAAC's advocacy for hobbyists both in, and outside the association and remains the standing position of MAAC until such time that the first draft of the permanent legislation is published:

Attachment to MAAC Comments on NPA RDIMS # 10477932

Acknowledgement / Approach Philosophy:

MAAC recognizes the safety concern that a small percentage of irresponsible modellers have created, primarily as the result of the increasing availability of semi-automated, camera carrying models. However, responsibility for safety must remain with the individual, not by attempting to control the technology.

This proposal defines reasonable, and measurable, limitations of responsible conduct for all recreational aero modelers that will stand the test of time.

Further, it provides needed flexibility by leveraging partnerships and expertise found in recognized aero modeling organizations under established safety codes. These partnerships will be key for the Minister in the challenge of public education as the regulations are enacted.

MAAC's proposed approach allows for continued safe model aircraft recreational flight for all responsible hobbyist's, whether members of an aero modeling organization or not. However, it also provides the necessary balance by ensuring there are reasonable measures in place for holding all operators of model aircraft accountable for aviation safety.

The impetus, in part for the "Interim Order" Issued in March of this year by the Government of Canada via Transport Canada (TC), was a response to the negative flying activities of a number of individuals external to the MAAC organization. The Transport Minister recognized MAAC's long-standing safety record and safe operating procedures by providing an exemption for MAAC members.

This order expires at the end of March 2018, when it is expected the final draft of the noted pending legislation will be enacted into law. There is no formal avenue/process to request changes to the Minister's interim order.

After the draft of the permanent legislation is published in "Gazette 1" this month, there will again be another "comment "period solicited by Transport Canada. After the comment period is closed, legal drafters will make changes/additions related to the comments received before publishing in "Gazette 2" and enacting changes into law.

MAAC's intent is to carefully review the published 1st draft of the actual legislation and provide comment at that time if the BOD feels that it is warranted.

This is the link to the MAAC Transport Canada Advisory Group - http://www.maac.ca/en/committees_details.php?committee_id=43

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