MAAC Safety and Transport Canada Advisory Groups have paved the way for a return to flying inside controlled airspace. As you should all know, our Leigh’s Bay field is 3.8 nautical miles from the centre of the Sault Airport, which puts us in controlled airspace.

There are several steps that need to be completed before we return; these are:

  1. Prepare a set of club rules that meet the requirements to return,
  2. Earn a Site Operating Certificate for the Leigh’s Bay field from the MAAC Safety Advisory group,
  3. Members must take a drone pilot online exam: Small Advanced Exam (Transport Canada (TC) Link), you must pass this exam and your flight review to get your Pilot Certificate – Here is the knowledge requirements for the RPAS 250 g up to and including 25 kg (Transport Canada (TC) Link).
  4. Members must register their models through the Drone Management Portal (TC Link to Portal) and provide a Manufacturer’s safety declaration
  5. Understand how to create a Site Survey


This site is in controlled airspace – strict compliance with these rules is required. The following rules package must be available to all RPAS Pilots while operating mRPAS and RPAS at this site, either electronically or in print.  These rules are available in print from a club executive or instructor or online.

In addition to the following club rules, the following concepts must be met by all members.

  • Each RPAS must be registered with Transport Canada with a Manufacturer Safety Assurance Declaration, either under the MAAC declaration (Model Aircraft, Fixed Wing, Rotary wing, or Hybrid) or with another established manufacturer (DJI etc.) and each RPAS must have the required documentation available (owners user/maintenance “manual”),
  • All RPAS pilots must have an Advanced RPAS Certificate or be operating under the direct supervision of an Advanced RPAS Certificate holder and,
  • Each individual pilot’s RPAS flying session must have permission from the controlling agency via NAV DRONE. There is no group permission ability to date.

Administrative Rules

In an emergency, phone (911); the civic address for first responders is Leigh’s Bay Road, south of Base Line

Site Location or address:

Leigh’s Bay, Sault Ste, Marie Ontario, Entrance Coordinates are:521067, -84.423249

Pilot’s stations coordinates are: 513964, -84.424226

Floatplane station coordinates are: 511189, -84.423755

The site is in the NAV CANADA Sault Ste. Marie (CYAM) Class D control zone. Air Traffic Control services are provided by CYAM Air Traffic Control, 7 days a week from 1130z to 0330z (0730 local to 1130pm local). RPAS operations are not permitted outside these hours (mRPAS, control line and surface vehicles are permitted).

  • RPAS activities are permitted from 9:00AM to 30 minutes before sunset. The time of sunset will be determined using any weather or aviation site data or RPAS Wilco. Night flying/modelling is prohibited unless your model is brightly lit. The entire flying circle and buffer area must also be well-lit for tethered aircraft,
  • Any Pilot operating an mRPAS or RPAS at Leigh’s Bay site must:
  • Be a current club member in good standing,
  • Be a current MAAC member in good standing.,
  • Have their club Wings Certification.
  • A Full Member may sponsor a Guest to fly at the field. If so, that Guest is flying on the Full Member’s membership obligations.
  • A Guest, who would like to fly at the field shall meet the following criteria:
    • Must understand and meet all club safety and field regulations
    • MAAC Rules applicable to the type of RPAS,
    • MAAC membership in good standing is required,
    • Must be approved by a club instructor,
    • Flying Proficiency demonstrated to club instructor or executive member,
    • If over age 16, must have advanced RPAS Certification to operate RPAS,
    • Aircraft/RPAS Inspection,
    • Field Rules and boundaries reviewed,
    • Safety Procedures reviewed.
  • Sault Ste. Marie Radio Control Model Airplane Club, #86 allows the following modelling categories:
    • RPAS (250 grams to 25 kgs)
    • mRPAS, (less than 250 grams)
    • Tethered (control line),
    • surface vehicles.
    • Space models (rockets) or Free Flight are not permitted.

General site Rules

  • Surface Vehicle Specific must yield to RPAS,
  • A fire extinguisher must be present for all powered model operations,
  • Tethered flights must be centered such that the pit area and flight line fence is not overflown,
  • Flying/modelling is not permitted if non-modellers occupy the site. DO NOT breach this rule – wait for others to finish or come back another time.
  • Members can only hold events or competitions if the club has received additional permission,
  • Clean up after you leave – do not leave any garbage or crashed airplane parts behind,
  • A copy of the filed lease/license agreement is available from the club executive if needed.
  • Members not complying with these, or any club /MAAC rules, will be subject to disciplinary actions including permanent expulsion from the club, as well as potential sanctions from MAAC.
  • All participants must have proven competency following the club’s Wings program.

Normal operating procedures and Club safety rules

mRPAS rules – NAV CANADA airspace

  • Per the CAR, mRPAS do not require an RPAS operator’s certificate and cannot be registered with Transport Canada. mRPAS are however regulated under CAR900.06 and part VI of the CAR.
  • mRPAS operation inside controlled airspace cannot use and do not need NAV DRONE for permission.
  • Per MAAC policy, operating mRPAS inside controlled airspace is only permitted where MAAC has issued a SOC that determines CAR900.06 has been met. This site meets MAAC requirements.

NOTE – The MAAC Manufacturer Declaration policy does not permit “drone” operation in controlled airspace.  A “drone” is not defined by propulsion system (i.e., multi-rotor) but rather whether there is any type of onboard semi-autonomous flight control systems such as “return to home”.  All MAAC mRPAS must be flown by the pilot – basic stability gyros or simple stability systems like SAFE are allowed.  Please read MAAC policy or contact MAAC for additional information.

  • Therefore, members may operate mRPAS at this site without any RPAS pilot certification, registration or additional airspace permission provided the following conditions are met:
  • All mRPAS must be flown in direct control mode only. “Drones” are prohibited.
  • Members are responsible to ensure the weight limits are strictly followed.
  • There are no age restrictions on mRPAS flight.
  • mRPAS do not require a MAAC “manufacturer operations manual” or similar.
  • Visual observer is optional for mRPAS.
  • mRPAS will be operated in accordance with all site and MAAC rules such as honouring the flight line. Spotters are at member discretion.
  • NOTE – if a member has obtained NAV DRONE permission to operate an RPAS for a given day/session, they may also fly a mRPAS at any time during or outside the NAV DRONE permission time limits without any further permission.

MAAC members conducting mRPAS activities shall give way or otherwise immediately get out of the way of all full-scale aircraft – no exceptions.


RPAS Site rules

  • Any Pilot responsible for the operation of an RPAS must have a current Advanced RPAS Pilot Certification.
  • Conformance to MAAC RPAS Manufacturer Declaration is mandatory for all RPAS pilots. The MAAC RPAS Manufacturer Declaration policy is available through the club website,
  • Each individual RPAS flying session must have an appropriate NAV DRONE permission/approval,
  • Please refer to the MAAC tutorial on what values to enter in NAV DRONE for a MAAC SOC flying site.
  • There is no group ability or sharing of a NAV DRONE approval or similar – every pilot must submit their own individual request for each flying session.
  • Please refer to the NAV CANADA website for more information and instruction on the use of NAV DRONE
  • For clarity, unless specified in the NAV DRONE approval, MAAC declared model aircraft do not require a “transponder” or any other onboard ATC identification equipment to operate in CYAM airspace.


MAAC RPAS operation is only permitted to a maximum of 200’ above ground level by NAV CANADA. MAAC is in the process of negotiating higher altitudes. Members shall not make individual requests for higher altitudes either verbally or electronically – those requests must be processed by MAAC under the MAAC manufacturer declaration.

  • A copy of a recent site survey for the site must be always present – either in print or electronically. MAAC endorses the use of RPAS Wilco, provided a site survey is conducted at least once per flying session (once per day). A group site survey is permitted, provided the information is readily available to all RPAS pilots, including Sault Ste. Marie (CYAM) weather and CYAM NOTAM information. Members can share a single RPAS Wilco survey or brief one another throughout the day as new members arrive – but a completed site survey must be always present.
  • Operating rules and procedures. Our set up and flying areas are as defined in the attached diagrams.
  • All pre-flight inspections or model assembly shall be done in the designated area away from the active modelling area,
  • Members shall ensure cooperation between RPAS, Control Line activities and surface vehicles,
  • Batteries shall not be connected to electric-powered models unless the model is properly restrained,
  • Tethered (control line) Gas/glow models must be restrained and started in the start-up stands or similar, located in the start-up area,
  • The direction of launches, take-off landing, and vehicle traffic pattern will be determined by prevailing conditions and following discussions by participants,
  • Hand launching and bungee launching shall be done in agreement with all participants.
  • Please refer to that attached map for a depiction of normal site operating procedures.
  • MAAC members conducting RPAS activities shall give way or otherwise immediately get out of the way of all full-scale aircraft – no exceptions.

No RPA flying will occur below the MAAC-mandated weather minimum:

  • If cloud is present below 1000’ above the model flying area
  • a horizontal visibility requirement of less than 3sm around the flying area, and
  • If there are other obscuring conditions (fog, smoke, haze etc.) which could make spotting full-scale aircraft difficult.
  • The site is in controlled airspace, visual observers are mandatory. The following are club procedures for ensuring full-scale aviation safety:
  • We do not monitor ATC radio frequencies at this site.
  • The visual observer (or other non-flying pilot/delegate) should be assigned responsibility for ensuring “communication capability” is maintained with Air Traffic Control per the approval notice.
  • VO should have Basic or Advanced RPAS license. Any member can be a visual observer.
  • At least one visual observer shall stand (no sitting allowed) within arm’s length of any pilot flying.
  • The sole role is to scan for approaching full-scale aircraft – do not watch the RPA.
  • When the visual observer or any other member spots/hears a full-scale airplane that might come near the site, they are to yell out “AIRPLANE” loudly.
  • Upon hearing this notification, ALL Pilots must immediately descend to as low an altitude as possible and then land as soon as safely able.
  • When the full-scale airplane is no longer a threat, the person who gave the warning shall yell “ALL CLEAR,” or the pilots may make that determination themselves and resume flying.

Adjacent Aerodromes

The RPAS field is located 3.9 nm east of Sault Ste. Marie Airport (CYAM). The following is not required information or procedures, however, is provided for information purposes:

  • The airport is home to Sault College Aviation School, MNR Air Operations base (water bombers), JD Aero operations, general aviation, and commercial traffic.
  • There are no CFS RPA procedures and no other CFS PRO comments that affect our modelling site,
  • There is one Visual Flight Rules (VFR) route (east route) that passes immediately south of our modeling site with an expected minimum altitude of 518’ AGL – RPAS pilots must exercise caution. The 863’AGL antenna located immediately east of our site should help mitigate full-scale flight directly over our modelling site.

Emergency Procedures

  • In the event of any uncontrolled and sustained RPAS movement (fly-away or uncontrolled flight) outside our flying area in any direction, the pilot of the RPAS must immediately contact the Sault Ste Marie (CYAM) Air Traffic Control Tower at (705) 779-3707 to explain the situation and direction the flyway RPAS is heading.

NOTE – this process is not required for crashes or minor deviations immediately outside the flying area – see reporting requirements or CAR901.49.

  • In the event of an emergency, such as a fire, injury to any person or any other type of event requiring emergency services, call 9 -1-1 and give them our location.
  • If there is any type of near miss or safety concern between a full-scale aircraft or a bystander and our models, ALL modelling SHALL cease immediately. The members involved should fill out a MAAC reportable occurrence report and submit that to MAAC and the Club executive and follow MAAC policy with the following exceptions:
  • If the member(s) involved believe the risk was very minimal, they may complete their own self-declaration or risk assessment using the MAAC form. Submit a copy of the form to the club executive when able, and you must keep this form for one year. Resume modelling when done.
  • If the member or Club executive deems the event serious, modelling will not resume until members are given permission by the Club executive – in writing.
  • If there is actual contact between an aircraft, bystander and a MAAC model – all modelling will cease until MAAC confirms we may resume operations.
  • This process is for your protection.
  • In the event of any normally expected modelling mishap which requires any degree of repair, the model may only be “field repaired” if all normal modelling supplies and tools are present and used in accordance with established modeling practices or manufacturer instructions.
  • Any repair other than minor (replacing broken propeller etc.) shall be treated as a maiden flight. Ensure logbook entries are made.
  • Any repair that cannot be fixed at the field, shall only be repaired at the modeller’s/owner’s shop or other repair facility. Ensure logbook entries are made.
  • The Club executive will review these rules at least once a year.

RPAS Floatplane Operations

  • In addition to all the above rules, the following rules apply to RPAS floatplane operations:
  • Notify all members that you are heading to the float area,
  • The spotter must be cognizant of regular of regular flying operations and avoid any conflict.
  • Ensure the recovery boat is at the ready and returned to storage upon completion of floatplane operations.
  • When returning from the float area, do not come across the flying field until given a signal by anyone flying it is safe to do so.

Tethered/Control line Spotter Rules

  • MAAC “spotters” are mandatory at our site. The following are club procedures for ensuring by-stander safety:
  • When any member or other person spots a bystander approaching the flying area that might present a safety concern, they are to yell out “BY-STANDER” loudly.
  • ALL control line Pilots must immediately climb the model to as high an altitude as possible (above head height) OR land immediately. This may require an intentional forced landing/crash away from the approaching bystander.
  • The spotter or pilot should endeavour to warn the bystander to remain clear of the flying area and outside the safety buffer distance. Yelling in a firm, loud voice, “STOP – stay back,” and waving your arm(s) is suggested.
  • If you perceive the bystander to be in danger and do not have a reasonable expectation to ensure their safety, “ground/crash/stop” you model by any means possible away from the bystander and in a manner that is as safe as possible.

Night Flying

The site is in the NAV CANADA Sault Ste. Marie (CYAM) Class D control zone. Air Traffic Control services are provided by CYAM Air Traffic Control, 7 days a week from 1130z to 0330z (0730 local to 1130pm local).  RPAS operations are not permitted outside these hours (mRPAS, control line and surface vehicles are permitted).

  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.
  2. No pilot shall operate a remotely piloted aircraft system using night-vision goggles unless the goggles are capable of, or the person has another means of, detecting all light within the visual spectrum.

Space Models (Rockets)

Space models – rockets are not allowed at this site.


Free flight models are not allowed at this site.

Surface Vehicles – Cars/Trucks or Boats

MAAC “spotters” are optional at our site for surface models. The following are club procedures for ensuring by-stander safety:

  • When any member or other person spots a by-stander approaching the model area that might present a safety concern, they are to yell out “BY-STANDER” in a loud voice.
  • ALL members must immediately stop their vehicles or steer them to an area away from the where the bystander is approaching from.
  • If the bystander is in immediate danger, the spotter or modeler should YELL in a firm loud voice “STOP – stay back” and waving your arm(s) is suggested.

There are no other risk mitigating strategies required at Leigh’s Bay site.