Edmonton Worldwide Airport a nationwide chief in drone know-how – Drones Information


Edmonton International Airport is a Canadian leader in the integration and use of remote controlled aircraft systems (RPAS, also known as drones) at airports.

Safety is our top priority and all drone operations at EIA are carefully managed in conjunction with federal regulators, Transport Canada and Nav Canada, and the RPAS companies involved. The use of recreational drones is prohibited on or within 13 km (7 nautical miles) of the airport. Further information on the legal requirements for the operation of drones can be found here.

Drones are used for a variety of special programs, such as: B. to deter birds and wildlife with a hawk-shaped Robird drone. EIA has also used this technology for lidar scans of our runways to identify safety and maintenance issues before they occur. EIA was also the first Canadian airport to use drones at night to improve aircraft national security. We will also be the future home of a test site for drone cargo delivery services, with the goal of becoming the hub for that service for Western Canada in the years to come.

The introduction of this technology at EIA creates jobs, drives innovation and technology growth, and helps us stay at the forefront of future aviation trends and technologies. That’s why EIA is proud to partner with technology companies through the Alberta Aerospace and Technology Center to advance RPAS and related technologies, including the design and manufacture of drones at EIA. AATC is also part of an effort to make the Edmonton Metropolitan Area a living laboratory where technology and regulations can co-develop.

Airports offer a unique ecosystem with specific requirements, for which RPAS was specially developed. RPAS cargo delivery can be tailored to the planning, amount and type of cargo to be carried, locations to be serviced, and route efficiency. RPAS may also be better able to move certain types of cargo, e.g. B. dangerous or temperature controlled goods, and to ensure the safety of cargo, which could contain security requirements for bound goods. For example, high value assets arriving on the live side of an airport could be transported via specific routes without ever leaving the security area or using ground transportation.

Further information on the companies involved can be found at:

Additional information:

Regulatory requirements for the operation of RPAS at EIA (in addition to EIA approval)

  • Part IX of the current Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) permits the use of unmanned aircraft in field of view operations in an airport environment. To fly within controlled airspace, an Advanced Pilot Certificate is required, which requires passing a written test and verification by an approved flight examiner.
  • The type of airfield and the category of the surrounding airspace determine the applicable operating rules, pilot license requirements and flight safety standards. Prior approval from NAV CANADA is also required for these aerodromes in controlled airspace.
  • The existing Part IX of the CARs and accompanying circular also address the processes required to obtain approval for out of line of sight operations in various environments, including at airfields. In these situations, the RPAS operator must provide Transport Canada with a full risk assessment or proof of safety demonstrating that the proposed operation can be carried out with an acceptable level of safety.
  • The use of recreational drones at or within 13 km (7 nautical miles) of the airport is currently prohibited.
  • Anyone wishing to fly within the control zone sends a request through NAV Canada, which then notifies the EIA.
What are the next steps in the aviation community (i.e., Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS), cargo delivery, surveying, scanning)?
  • Continue to securely integrate RPAS operations at airports and into the current management of air traffic.
  • Continue to educate the public about the safe use of drones in all airspaces, especially in controlled airspace.
  • Developing technologies to identify non-cooperative RPAS (airspace awareness) interventions to ensure the safety of our passengers and customers.
  • BVLOS operations where the controller cannot see the RPAS. Technologies such as detection and avoidance functions (in the air or on the ground) must be demonstrated to ensure the safety of other airspace users. DDC is working towards these goals by developing a ground-based Sense and Avoid feature to ensure that unmanned aircraft can be safely separated from traditional aircraft.
  • In Canada, the RPAS industry continues to evolve thanks to innovation from companies such as EIA’s partners and a willingness from a regulator to work with the industry to create an environment in which secure RPAS operations can be performed. Transport Canada has supported the continuous development of the capabilities of the RPAS industry through a series of trials and pilots that provide the regulatory authority with the critical data necessary to develop effective regulations.
Airport City and AATC
  • EIA’s mandate is to drive economic growth in the Edmonton metropolitan area through air services and commercial development. Economic development and diversification are therefore the main reasons why EIA has helped advance RPAS and related technologies in partnership with technology companies under the Alberta Aerospace and Technology Center (AATC), including the design and manufacture of RPAS at EIA.
  • Airport City is also part of an effort to turn the Edmonton Metropolitan Area into a living laboratory where technology and regulations can co-develop. Activities are focused on the Alberta Aerospace & Technology Center, where the goal is to build a cluster of aerospace and technology activities that will serve as the hub for aerospace R&D innovation.
  • Flight simulators and training, โ€œWildlife Handling with Robots, Remote Control Vehicles, and Fuel Innovationโ€ are some of the areas that will be explored under the umbrella of the EIA Innovation Laboratory.
  • EIA has partnered with the Advanced Technology Development Group, the Alberta Center for Advanced Micro-Nano-Technology Products (ACAMP), to help entrepreneurs translate their ideas from proof-of-concept to manufactured product by being engineers , Technology experts and specialty equipment access and industry understanding.
  • EIA reduces the risk for innovation pioneers by offering flexible leasing contracts

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