UAV SFOC Myth: SFOC process is too complicated, so I won’t bother with one.
This is one we hear all too often. People take a quick look at the rules involved with commercial UAV operation and then quickly give up saying its too complex, takes too long, system doesn’t work, etc…
It is perhaps the result of many coming into the UAV industry having no previous business experience, or lack of insight to the regulatory side that exists in most all industries. Many people make a decision to jump into a drone business hoping to make their hobby into a money making activity overnight with little to no time or investment. The realities of the world however are much different than the “get rich quick with a drone” dreams of the naive.
As we wrote about in The Regulation Game…, regulations have existed since ancient times so they are nothing new to just UAVs. Like them or not they exist and you need to work with them for better or worse until things can change, and change with anything government related comes at a slow pace.
Ignorance of the rules that govern an industry are not an excuse that will hold up when the enforcement officers show up. You can’t open a restaurant without proper certificates and licenses, and much the same holds true in the UAV industry. All businesses have regulations they have to work within, be they good, bad, or indifferent.
One of our favorite complaints is “the system is too slow and doesn’t work”, which most times comes from people that have never even filed an SFOC. They hear from various forums or third hand comments how tough it is, quickly scan the regulations themselves, and then determine the system is broke, without ever even made an attempt to file. We will be first to state that the SFOC process is not perfect, it can be confusing, frustrating, and slow, however it does work. There are many operators getting SFOC, including long term standing SFOCs.
The reality is if you are serious about a UAV business, or any business, then the time it takes to read and understand the regulations is time well spent and will help you develop a solid framework and allow you to work legally. It wont happen overnight but it is doable, you just need to give it the time it demands.