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CARs Night Flight Requirements

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With the new Canadian rules coming into effect on June 1st, I’m wondering if my P3S and Spark will meet the lighting requirements as is, or will I have to purchase additional lighting? Are the existing lights considered position lights?

Here’s the section from the CARs document about Night flying:

‘901.39 (1) No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system during the night unless the remotely piloted aircraft is equipped with position lights sufficient to allow the aircraft to be visible to the pilot and any visual observer, whether with or without night-vision goggles, and those lights are turned on.’

Appreciate any clarification anyone may have.

Chris
 
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With the new Canadian rules coming into effect on June 1st, I’m wondering if my P3S and Spark will meet the lighting requirements as is, or will I have to purchase additional lighting? Are the existing lights considered position lights?

Here’s the section from the CARs document about Night flying:

‘901.39 (1) No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system during the night unless the remotely piloted aircraft is equipped with position lights sufficient to allow the aircraft to be visible to the pilot and any visual observer, whether with or without night-vision goggles, and those lights are turned on.’

Appreciate any clarification anyone may have.

Chris


PReviously the proposed rules listed indicator strobes capable of being seen from several kilometers (red on left of craft and collission strobe, WHITE.) My interpretation of the law NOW, is as long as the lights can be seen by ppl on the ground, im good to fly. If youre concerned, you can pick up a small cree LED strobe off ebay for like 20 USD. Has built in battery, lasts 2hours, and is capable of being seen for up to 4 miles. Buy2. Strap one up top, and one below at the BACK of your craft, to not mess up shots. TOTALLY unrequired however.
 
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My interpretation of the law NOW, is as long as the lights can be seen by ppl on the ground, im good to fly.
That’s my interpretation too as all DJI drones have lighting already. I am looking forward to trying my hand at getting some night shots.

Chris
 
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According to 901.39, as long as the pilot and visual observer(s) can see the drone, you're OK.

Depending on the visual environment you'll be flying in, and your eyes, an add-on strobe wouldn't be a bad idea to make your drone easier to follow.
 
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According to 901.39, as long as the pilot and visual observer(s) can see the drone, you're OK.

Depending on the visual environment you'll be flying in, and your eyes, an add-on strobe wouldn't be a bad idea to make your drone easier to follow.

Thanks for your reply. I have always flown my drones within VLOS and that won’t change when I fly at night. My main concern was whether the lights on my two drones would be classified as position lights. Since I have never flown my drones at night, I have never really been concerned with the lights other than giving status feedback (eg., low battery, no errors, etc.) so now I will make use of the lights to help with location and position in the sky. After a few flights I will be able to tell whether a strobe would be of any use to me.

In addition my night flights will likely all be close by. I look forward to getting some different nightscape shots of city lights.

Chris
 
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I stick to VLOS too, which means I rarely get that far away. I've been thinking about a strobe or something to make my drone easier to pick out during the day. (A couple of times I've looked down at the controller to take a series of pictures, and had trouble picking the drone out when I looked back up at the sky.)

If you don't mind my asking, where will you be that you can get good city lights but not too close to an airport? I'm too near Pearson to fly with only my basic license, so my flying has all involved trips out into the country (which is nice and a good break, but not good for night shots).
 
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I stick to VLOS too, which means I rarely get that far away. I've been thinking about a strobe or something to make my drone easier to pick out during the day. (A couple of times I've looked down at the controller to take a series of pictures, and had trouble picking the drone out when I looked back up at the sky.)

If you don't mind my asking, where will you be that you can get good city lights but not too close to an airport? I'm too near Pearson to fly with only my basic license, so my flying has all involved trips out into the country (which is nice and a good break, but not good for night shots).
I'm in Barrie. There are some areas on the south side of Kempenfelt Bay that are far enough away from the local Aerodromes, hospital heliport and seaplane bases that I could go up and probably get a view of the city or waterfront. I will have to explore when the new rules take effect this coming Saturday June 1st. I will likely just be flying up 15 to 20m and likely less than 50m.

Chris
 
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I'd be interested in your results. Barrie is only an hour away — worth making the trip if I can get some cool shots!
 
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I'd be interested in your results. Barrie is only an hour away — worth making the trip if I can get some cool shots!
I'll update the thread when I get a chance to try it out. My two drones aren't the best for low light photography (slowest shutter speed for P3S is 8s, for Spark its 2s), but I'll never know unless I try it.

Chris
 
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Big fan of the ARC 2 strobes:

I can see them in the middle of the day
 
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I'll update the thread when I get a chance to try it out. My two drones aren't the best for low light photography (slowest shutter speed for P3S is 8s, for Spark its 2s), but I'll never know unless I try it.

Chris

If you take lots of shots from the same spot (without moving the drone) you can stack them in Photoshop (or Affinity Photo) and get a brighter/sharper image that way. Astrophotographers use that trick a lot.

Using my favourite Affinity Photo:

Sample tutorial:
 
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If you take lots of shots from the same spot (without moving the drone) you can stack them in Photoshop (or Affinity Photo) and get a brighter/sharper image that way. Astrophotographers use that trick a lot.

Using my favourite Affinity Photo:

Sample tutorial:

Thanks for the tip Robert. I have used that technique with shots from my DSLR to create star trail images. I’ll see what I can come up with .

Chris
 
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Thanks for the tip Robert. I have used that technique with shots from my DSLR to create star trail images. I’ll see what I can come up with .

Chris
Teaching my grandmother to suck eggs…

Looking forward to seeing what you come up with!
 
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I agree with others here Chris, the Phantom etc come with lights sufficient for you to keep VLOS at night. I'm from Barrie and have flown downtown and south shore without being Geofenced. I think OEM lighting is sufficient and extra strobes just draw attention. One of my problems is being spotted flying and then the crowd gathers to spectate and then you are now in an argument landing trying to keep people 100 feet back. I had kids try to chase it as it was landing ignoring whatever you tell them and hope I can get it safely landed while I still have battery. Try to stay clandestine with out strobes.
 
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I agree with others here Chris, the Phantom etc come with lights sufficient for you to keep VLOS at night. I'm from Barrie and have flown downtown and south shore without being Geofenced. I think OEM lighting is sufficient and extra strobes just draw attention. One of my problems is being spotted flying and then the crowd gathers to spectate and then you are now in an argument landing trying to keep people 100 feet back. I had kids try to chase it as it was landing ignoring whatever you tell them and hope I can get it safely landed while I still have battery. Try to stay clandestine with out strobes.
Thanks for your feedback. Yes, I was thinking the lights were sufficient too, but just wanted to make sure. Looking forward to trying it out but way too windy today.

Chris
 
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Yes, too windy. I was think it would be a great day with full sun, no clouds to take pictures but I get nervous with any wind over 20 mph.
 
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Yes, too windy. I was think it would be a great day with full sun, no clouds to take pictures but I get nervous with any wind over 20 mph.
In addition, any shots at night would have to be long exposures, so long exposure + wind = blurry shot.
 
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I agree with others here Chris, the Phantom etc come with lights sufficient for you to keep VLOS at night. I'm from Barrie and have flown downtown and south shore without being Geofenced. I think OEM lighting is sufficient and extra strobes just draw attention. One of my problems is being spotted flying and then the crowd gathers to spectate and then you are now in an argument landing trying to keep people 100 feet back. I had kids try to chase it as it was landing ignoring whatever you tell them and hope I can get it safely landed while I still have battery. Try to stay clandestine with out strobes.
All that is required is for you to be able to discern attitude and orientation. I know it’s probably overkill but I saw someone mention firehousetechnology Cree lights which I bought a while back and applied to my p3s.
It may be overkill but **** it looks good in the air. 😜
 
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Well so far, I have done two night flights on different days and only one flight per night as the bugs have been bad even with fly dope. They love attacking my head light. Here is a shot from last night. There was a bit of wind and some gusts resulting in some blurry photos. Launched from the North Shore of the Bay (Johnson's Beach). Would like to get closer to the city lights and am currently scouting locations to fly from. It's getting harder to find spots to fly because the nice weather brings lots of people out to the waterfront even at night. Some of the places closer to the downtown area would be great spots to take pictures from but they are within the 5.6 km radius of local airports/heliports so can't fly there.

P3S-0478.jpg

2.0 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 200, P3S camera, RAW. Minor editing in Lightroom.

Turning off the front lights during the shot definitely helps. I was surprised how easy it was to see the AC at night, but must rely on the radar/map for orientation as it is much harder to tell at night. Next time out, I will try some exposure stacking to see if I can get a sharper photo with less noise.

So far, I am pleased with the results considering the P3S camera is not the best for low light photography.

Chris
 
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Well so far, I have done two night flights on different days and only one flight per night as the bugs have been bad even with fly dope. They love attacking my head light. Here is a shot from last night. There was a bit of wind and some gusts resulting in some blurry photos. Launched from the North Shore of the Bay (Johnson's Beach). Would like to get closer to the city lights and am currently scouting locations to fly from. It's getting harder to find spots to fly because the nice weather brings lots of people out to the waterfront even at night. Some of the places closer to the downtown area would be great spots to take pictures from but they are within the 5.6 km radius of local airports/heliports so can't fly there.

View attachment 111995
2.0 sec @ f/2.8, ISO 200, P3S camera, RAW. Minor editing in Lightroom.

Turning off the front lights during the shot definitely helps. I was surprised how easy it was to see the AC at night, but must rely on the radar/map for orientation as it is much harder to tell at night. Next time out, I will try some exposure stacking to see if I can get a sharper photo with less noise.

So far, I am pleased with the results considering the P3S camera is not the best for low light photography.

Chris

Nice shot.

I took a look at Barrie using the National Research Council's drone site selection tool. It looks like you'd be legal to fly pretty well anywhere over the water except Orillia.

Heliports aren't 5.6 km radius, they're 1.9 km so the hospital's radius doesn't reach the water.

All the other airfields (except Borden) aren't certified so you have to 'exercise caution' but aren't banned. The zones around them are also showing as smaller ovals rather than 5.6 km circles, which I think show runway alignments and thus give you an idea of the axis planes will be landing/taking off. (Edenvale seems to have three runways, for example, while Springwater/Barrie Airpark has one.)

No idea how busy they are, which will of course affect how safe it is to fly near them, but it looks like the entire shoreline of Shanty Bay is OK for flights.
 

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