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21 Oct 2019

Can drone technology make aviation safer?

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Posted on September 25, 2019 by Tania Moffat

There is no doubt that technology is impacting several aspects of the aviation industry. From the use of biometrics and blockchains to artificial intelligence and drones, new technology is a hotly debated subject.

A Sugu Canada drone conducts a maintenance inspection. The company has tailor-made drone solutions for aircraft operators in the corporate, narrow- and wide-body aircraft categories. Sugu Canada Photo
A Sugu Canada drone conducts a maintenance inspection. The company has tailor-made drone solutions for aircraft operators in the corporate, narrow- and wide-body aircraft categories. Sugu Canada Photo


The use of drones to increase the efficiency and safety of aircraft inspections, however, is gaining ground the world over. Currently, Markham, Ont.-based Sugu Canada says it is the only company offering these specialized drone services and related training in Canada.

Safety is an essential but costly and time-consuming effort for airlines. Daily checks, pre-flight walkarounds, and periodic inspections are crucial in ensuring an aircraft is safe to operate. And, every minute spent on the apron or in the hangar costs airlines money.

Enter the drones

“This emerging technology can decrease daily aircraft inspections from approximately four hours to 30 minutes, optimizing an airline’s time, cost and workforce,” said Soreign Jackson, vice-president, Business Development at Sugu Canada.

“Several Canadian carriers are looking at the technology and working cohesively with us. We are completing trial inspections with airlines to be sure we can improve their on-time performance as well as their maintenance scheduling.”

Drones provide operators with a visual inspection toolkit that allows them to gather data on the structural and visual integrity of the plane via thermal infrared scans and red/green/blue or RGB visual inspection scans. The drone’s visual inspection of the skin of the aircraft can identify scratches, dents, lightning strikes and pressurization leaks.

Data uploads in real-time to Sugu Canada’s proprietary software, Sugumapper, for visualization and dissemination, allowing operators to view and respond to safety threats quickly.

Sugumapper provides data sets that can actualize and provide statistics over the lifespan of an aircraft. “This technology is in its infancy and we are very excited to see where it will be 20 to 25 years in the future. By then, we will have information on money saved and complete statistics covering the lifespan of aircraft. To date, there is no log for that,” explained Jackson.

Following a recent addition to the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs) requiring a person or remote pilot to monitor all phases of drone flight, Sugu Canada developed a mobile app. The app allows users to fly the drone from their mobile device while viewing a live video feed.

“Operators can also chat with other users through the app,” Jackson said of the evolving tech.

Sugu Canada staff come from diverse aeronautical backgrounds, including engineering, design and flight performance testing, as well as experienced commercial and drone pilots. Sugu Canada Photo

About Sugu Canada

Founded in early 2018 by a group of aviation professionals, Sugu Canada was created to provide time-saving tools for operators performing aircraft inspections. With the looming aircraft maintenance engineer (AME) shortage, Sugu Canada’s senior leadership team developed a tailor-made drone solution for aircraft operators in the corporate, narrow- and wide-body aircraft categories operating out of Toronto Pearson International Airport.

Since then, they have become software developers and offer specialized Transport Canada-approved training for commercial drone operators, with schools in Markham, Toronto and Vancouver.

Today, the company’s partnership with Fire and Emergency Services Training Institute (FESTI) has further positioned the company as a unique training organization.

“FESTI is a part of the Greater Toronto Airport Authority (GTAA), and we are providing training out of their facility for drone operations,” said Jackson. “It is a unique venture, the first in the world where an airport authority has decided to partner with a drone entity to discover how the technology can improve safety.”

FESTI responds to over 5,000 emergency calls per year at Toronto Pearson, including aircraft rescues, structural fire responses and hazardous materials calls, several of which can benefit from the use of drone inspections.

The classroom at Toronto Pearson can accommodate 100 to 150 students. Classes typically consist of aircraft mechanics, public safety officials, firefighters and civilians. Sugu Canada is the only training school in Canada to provide training for aircraft drone inspection services, remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) certification training recognized by Transport Canada. The company adheres to Canadian Aviation Regulations and aims to improve drone training standards in the Canadian aerospace sector. Advertisement

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“Providing quality training is why we started the school,” said Jackson. “We moved from solely providing aircraft inspections into training individuals because we wanted to keep the quality of the data reading up to par. Training on our software ensures that those using our tools are doing so safely and meeting government standards. Our instructors are Transport Canada certified to conduct flight reviews.”

The future of aviation

“I do think this is the future of aviation,” he continued. “Drones allow people to do their jobs better, and it’s a good thing at the end of the day to have this progress free up resources. When pilots perform their walkarounds, there are no checks and balances. In the future, they can use their tablet and inspect the aircraft with a drone, then go outside and check anything the drone picked up.”

Sugu Canada is focused on advancing aircraft drone inspection technology.

“The key is to operate drones safely and have a regimented organization, such as an airport authority, to help push technological solutions forward,” said Jackson. “Our solutions will not only help maintenance personnel but also pilots perform their duties at a faster rate, by optimizing time and efficiency with 99.9 per cent accuracy (with pre-planned drone surveys). As a commercial pilot, I am very excited about the future and look forward to seeing the technology used in the assembly line and at the gate.”

Tania Moffat is a freelance writer, editor, publisher and photographer. She has worked in the publishing industry for the last 15 years on a wide variety of B2B and consumer publications, both in print and online. You can connect with her at

18 Apr 2019

SUGU launches New RPAS/Drone Training Program in Mississauga

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New RPAS/Drone Training Program at YYZ

The Fire and Emergency Services Institute (FESTI) is proud to announce a new RPAS/Drone training partnership with Sugu. The program is tailored to both public safety & civilians interested in obtaining their advance drone pilot license. Additionally, there will be a variety of other courses offered including, Suspect Tracking, Search & Rescue, Flight Inside a Structure, Fire Emergency Response Training, and Hazmat.

The advanced drone pilot course will adhere to the Canadian Aviation Regulations for new certification requirements for pilots operating drones weighing between 250 grams (g) up to and including 25 kilograms (kg) by June 1st 2019. The training will be offered for groups/individuals full-time onsite or in a blended format.

Students interested in signing up can do so by visiting our programs & courses links under consulting.

11 Dec 2018

Why Choose Sugu For Drone Training?

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Why Choose Sugu for Done Training

Located in Markham, Ontario, Sugu (Japanese for “fast”) is Canada’s largest drone training centre offering classes year-round in all aspects of flying drones safely. 

Why Choose Sugu?

There are many schools in North America that will offer you training in flying drones, but how many of them have one on one training provided by Instructors are licensed commercial pilots? Sugu offers small monthly courses and 24/7 instructor availability; as well as both online and in-class practical training. What’s more, Sugu offers classes in both French and English. Sugu’s courses are recognized by Transport Canada.

What will I learn at Sugu?

Courses offered by Suga covers flying for the many of the industries drones are used in today:  agriculture,construction, and videography. As well, you’ll learn how to fly safely and what is required to become a licensed drone operator including applying for your SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate) that tells you how and where you may fly your drone.

What Career Services Does Sugu Offer

Once you’ve completed courses at Sugu can help you out getting your career off the ground. They offer 1 on 1 career counselling and job leads assistance. As well they offer the Drone Pilot Pathways Program and an online recruiting portal for graduates and networking events to build up contacts.

More reasons to choose Sugu for drone training

Besides the classes, there are more things that Sugu offers: they have Instructors who care about their students and want them to succeed and there is career assistance after completing courses. Remedial assistance provided for free. There are also monthly giveaways.

For more information visit their website at: or call them at:  1888-FLY-SUGU (1-888-359-7848)

12 Nov 2018

Why Train With Sugu?

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Located in Markham, Ontario, a city known for high-tech ventures (and just north of Toronto, Canada), Sugu provides training for drone operators.

Located at 16th Avenue & 404 in Markham, Ontario Sugu (Japanese for “fast”) is Canada’s largest drone training centre offering classes 365 days a year. Our programs are taught by operators who are licensed commercial pilots, aircraft mechanics and photographers with years of experience in flying.

Sugu Offers Several Courses Taught Either Online or In-Person which satisfy Transport Canada’s TP15-263 requirements.

Some of the courses taught include:

Ground School TP15263 : learn to fly without endangering your drone using a modern simulator. This is a modular online & in person course taught by a licensed commercial pilot; which goes over UAV flight basics so you are knowledgeable to fly your UAV.

Other courses cover everything from Theory of Flight, Navigation, Meteorology, Airlaw, Radio procedures, Flight Instruments, Flight Operations, Flight Training and Human factors.
Sugu’s courses are recognised by Transport Canada.

Sugu Consulting Services
Sugu also provides consulting services for firefighting, and SFOC’s. Drones can provide a birds-eye view of a fire and live-streaming high-resolution thermal images. This can be used to find victims faster, assess hazardous situations from a distance and even search and rescue by dropping supplies.

Providing SFOC consulting services, Sugu assist with the application submission and design. A SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate) is a document issued by Transport Canada that tells you how and where you may fly your drone. For more information on SFOC’s, see: Transport Canada’s website. Generally it applies to compliant drones operating in a urbanized environment. Sugu is a one stop shop where you can find insurance and download resources from Transport Canada on there school website.

Drone Rental Services
Sugu also makes drones available for rental. Upon completion of our course, students will be able to rent out compliant drones for usage in urban environments. Students will be subject to a final exam and flight review.

Getting Started
For more information  call  1888-FLY-SUGU (1-888-359-7848)

For updates and events, Follow Sugu on social media at:, , and

20 Oct 2018

5 Steps To Becoming a Drone Pilot In Canada

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Drone Training, Flying Drones, Transport Canada Training, Drone Photography, Drone Geomatics, Drone Inspections

Drone Groundschool

Drone Groundschool

                                                                     Attend a Transport Canada Ground School Course

There are minimum age and medical requirements, as well as minimum competency standards that address knowledge, experience and skill. In terms of knowledge (ground school), the pilot must have successfully passed a course of ground school training that is based on Transport Canada TP15623 – “Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems, UAV 25 Kg or less operating within visual line-of-sight”.  This document is available at: Drone pilots are only required to obtain ground school training, and thus practical training is omitted. Furthermore the ground training is not applicable to any of the practical training or ground school classes that cover other materials such as the ROC-A, Operations Manager courses, SFOC application training. In the future Transport Canada will set minimum course times for drone training. It has been discussed that drone courses will be minimum of 20 hours with suggestions for these hours to be closer to 40.


Category 4 medicalPass a Category 4 Medical

Under the current SFOC standards drones Pilots will have to demonstrate they are medically fit. This can be done by visiting a certified aviation medical examiner or general practitioner. A medical declaration shall be filled out in order to meet standards


Purchase UAV

Purchase a drone or UAV

Purchase a UAV

Once you have completed ground training a UAV can be purchased. It is proposed that pilots operating in urban environments obtain a compliant UAV. This list can be found here: . For pilots operating outside these zones, a non-compliant drone can be utilised in rural areas.


UAV Insurance

UAV Insurance

Obtain UAV Insurance

The minimum drone insurance coverage, as mandated by Transport Canada is $100000. However it is recognised industry wide, that $100000 is not enough. We recommend pilots to obtain a minimum of 7.5 million policy when operating in Urban environment. Additional liability insurance provides better peace of mind to operator flying within built up area.

Standing SFOC

Standing SFOC


Apply for an SFOC

Assuming you have completed the above steps, you are now ready to start flying. Under the proposed rules drone pilots will not require an SFOC in rural areas, but will be required to become licensed. Furthermore, if you are  a drone operator looking to operate in a complex urban environment, there will be the required Small UAV operators test, and a required practical test.

11 Oct 2018

Transport Canada Training: Current Rules

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Sugu’s drone & UAV training is perfect for students who want to obtain an SFOC, and learn how to operate there drone. Sugu’s pilot ground school provides the knowledge you need to begin flying in the unmanned aviation industry. Our training abides’s by Transport Canada’s Pilot Knowledge requirements and equips you with the tools you need for safe operation in Canadian airspace. Our course includes several certification standards which include obtaining an Industry Canada Restricted Radio Operators (ROC-A), and both a simulation based and practical flying standards test.


Drone & UAV Training Each exemption has specific training requirements. For example, to fly a drone that weighs above 1 kg, up to and including 25 kg, you must be trained to understand:

  • airspace classification and structure
  • weather and notice to airmen (NOTAM) reporting services
  • aeronautical charts and the Canada Flight Supplement
  • relevant sections of the Canadian Aviation Regulations

For more information, read the knowledge requirements for UAV (drone) pilots.



To use a drone of any size for work or research, you must (current rules):

  • hold a Special Flight Operations Certificate, or
  • qualify for one of two exemptions

You also need a Special Flight Operations Certificate if your drone weighs over 35 kg, even if it is used recreationally. Transport Canada’s infographic will hel you understand the exemption process: Do I need permission to fly my drone? . Each Special Flight Operations Certificate contains conditions for where and how to fly, such as:

  • how high you can fly
  • how close you can fly to people and property
  • what rules you must follow to share the airspace

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