Transport Canada Small Advanced Exam

Last week I wrote about how to get your Drone Pilot License. I mentioned that the Advanced exam has a reputation for being difficult and frustrating. So, we spent some time putting together a list of tips and resources to help you pass.

If you don’t need the Advanced Certificate start by passing the Basic Online Test, it’s much easier. However, if you want to operate near aerodromes, people, or controlled airspace as part of your drone program you’ll need the Advanced exam.

Take Ground School

You’ve heard me say it before and I’ll likely say it again. Ground School is an important part of pilot training. Everyone should complete Ground School before taking the online exams. The information you be taught during ground school and the study material you’ll be given will be the foundation for everything else you learn afterwards. The remainder of this post is about learning sources that supplement your ground school training.

Royal Air Force Ground School in World War II

Make use of Free Resources.

Because we live in the age of social media and YouTube, there is a lot of free content available.  Here’s a list of resources that we’ve compiled.

Don Drones On

Canada’s self proclaimed number one source of training material for drone pilots. Learn about drone rules, airspace, and safe flying practices with my easy to understand videos, study guides, and the Drone Pilot Canada app.

Don does an excellent job of keeping his videos short, memorable and packed with important information.

SUGU Drones

In addition to their paid online ground school SUGU has a 55min free study guide. It provides a short summary of what you must know to pass the Advanced Exam.

Paid Resources

If you have a few dollars here are some additional resources well worth adding to your list of study material.


Unmanned, 2nd Edition has been significantly updated over the title’s 1st Edition. New content has been added to match the rules set out within Transport Canada’s Knowledge Requirements that came into force in June 1st, 2019.

You can pick up a copy at the Pilotshop or or order from Amazon.

Unmanned Textbook for RPAS Studies

Don’s Study Guide

This study guide is a soft copy of the PowerPoint presentation shown in Don’s YouTube video’s above. It helps you prepare for the Drone Pilot Advanced Operations Exam.

Go To the Source

Transport Canada set out the Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems in a document called TP 15263E.  It’s 43 pages and I recommend looking through it to understand the background behind the ground school courses and various training sources.  Each of which is doing their best to cover all the material in TP15263E.

This list wouldn’t be complete without referring to the Part IX of the Canadian Aviation Regulations.  A worthy read and not as difficult to get through as you might expect!

Test Taking Strategy

Alright here’s what works for me. The test is an open book, or should I say open internet. There’s nothing that prevents you from googling every question and trying to find the answer.  There’s a big but, you won’t have time to google every question.

Step 1

So my first suggestion is to go through all 50 questions and answer all the easy ones.  That is all the ones you know the answer to without looking at any study material or making any google searches.

Step 2

Once you’ve complete all the easy questions you’ll have some momentum. Use that momentum to answer questions that you can easily find answers to in your study material. Have all your study material open and available. Google is good, but you’ll be able to find answers much quicker in material that you’re familiar with.

Step 3

Now tackle the oddball and weird questions that this exam is so notoriously known for!  Only now should you start using google and find answers to those interesting and quirky meteorological, human behavior and An hour goes quickly and the above strategy makes pretty effective use of your time.

Good Luck and Happy Flying!

Good luck with the exam.  These resources are far from comprehensive and if you find other resources you want to recommend, please add them in the comments section below!