What to Expect During Your Flight Review (Advanced Drone Operations in Canada)

Published May 9, 2019

If you are operating small Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) in Canada (under 25 kg), you have a couple of different options to get licensed, depending how you would like to operate.  You must be licensed to fly after June 1, 2019 in Canada, when the new regulations come into effect. If you would like to fly in controlled airspace, over bystanders, or within 30 metres (100 feet) of bystanders measured horizontally, you must pursue your Advanced Operations license. Prior to the flight review step, here some prerequisites that you should be aware of:

  • Make sure you have registered your drone with Transport Canada.
  • Properly mark your drone with its registration number.
  • Pass the Small Advanced Exam (and have your certificate on hand).
  • Contact a certified flight reviewer to arrange a review.

A new chapter in Canadian drone regulations begins on June 1st, 2019.

If you pursue the advanced license, you will need to schedule a flight review as well.  This step comes after you successfully pass the “Small Advanced Exam”, which I thought was a bit heavy on questions that only pertain to pilots of traditional (manned) aircraft.  I’m now thoroughly up to date on flashing lights on airport taxiways, and how that somehow pertains to me as a drone pilot.  With that being said, it was nice to see more questions that were focused around drone mechanics, power and their onboard systems, which is something that I could not say years ago when I first went through UAV Ground School. 

I recently went through the process to become a flight reviewer, which allows me to review external clients but also our new drone pilots at Strategic.  If you’d like to schedule or get connected with a local flight review, don’t hesitate to get in touch.  If you want to become a flight reviewer yourself, you need to be affiliated with a flight school and also take the Flight Reviewer exam, which is a supplement to the Advanced license. 

To help you prepare for your flight review, here are a few insights:

  • Flight reviews have a significant component of documentation (emergency procedures / SOPs) in addition to practical flight.
  • One component of the review involves estimation of drone distance and height from the PIC.
  • Be prepared to explain and go through mock emergency scenarios during the review (including a flyaway, or a crash into a person, for example). 
  • I recommend reviewing the Flight Reviewers guide that was released by Transport Canada, so you know what to expect.

Best of luck with your review, and feel free to get in touch if you have any other questions, or would like to arrange one.  Happy and safe flying!


Mike Morellato is the lead author and founder of  He works with drones and their data at Strategic in Campbell River, BC (Canada). 

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