Under the old SFOC process there was the concept of long term authority certificates that allowed operators to perform multiple operations over an extended time frame, removing the need to apply on a job by job basis. These were commonly referred to as “blanket” SFOCs.
With the new SFOC application process the concept still exists but is now referred to as “Standing SFOCs”.
A Standing SFOC is issued to allow operations within a defined geographical boundary (e.g. municipality, province, region, etc.) at operating sites that have not been assessed by the Inspector as part of the application. Validity periods may be up to the maximum allowed in section 7.4 above. A Standing SFOC will not be issued until the UAV operator has gained sufficient experience and demonstrates a history of safe operations. Standing SFOCs will not be issued to initial Certificate applicants.
One change to the new Standing SFOCs is the stated requirement of performing a site survey prior to any operation. This was a good operating procedure that many operators already performed but now it is an official requirement, and the procedures used for site surveys must now be document in the application.
Inspectors shall impose a condition in all Standing SFOCs, requiring the UAV operator to conduct site surveys prior to any operation. Site surveys conducted in accordance with the direction in section 6.19 of this SI should be considered the minimum standard.
(a) Certificate applicants requesting Standing SFOCs, shall specify in their SFOC
The following outlines the remaining details of Standing SFOC:
(a) Inspectors will specifically address in what class(s) of airspace operations are permitted and include specific conditions addressing operations in each class of airspace.
(b) When operations are proposed in ATC managed airspace, Inspectors shall impose a condition requiring the UAV operator to coordinate with the applicable ATS unit(s) a minimum of seven (7) days prior to commencement of operations.
(c) Participation in air shows is not approved. Inspectors shall ensure that such a condition is included in the SFOC. Aerial demonstrations to illustrate system capabilities to customers may be approved provided appropriate conditions are included in the SFOC. Refer to Section 6.25 of this SI for further information.
(d) In accordance with sub-paragraph 623.65(d)(3)(f) of the CARs, contact information must be provided for the Operation Manager or Ground Supervisor on site for each operation.
(e) UAV flight training operations will only be approved for Compliant operators.
(f) Multi-regional SFOCs will only be issued to Compliant operators.
(g) One or more types of UAV systems, may be authorized provided the systems have similar characteristics. This option is only available to Compliant operators.
The main items of note are now it is required to contact the local ATC 7 days prior to the operation. Also flight training operations are only allowed by Compliant Operators.
The Standing SFOC can be issues for up to 3 years length of time for Compliant Operators, 1 year for all others:
The validity period for a UAV SFOC may range from a few days to three (3) years and depends on several factors including the experience of the UAV operator, the type of SFOC application and the nature or scope of the operation itself.
The maximum validity period for a UAV SFOC shall be three (3) years which is only applicable for Compliant operators and overweight model aircraft operated in accordance with this SI. The maximum validity for all other Certificate applicants will be one (1) year.
See the previous info on the new SFOC Process in these articles: