SFOC Application Consulting Services

sfocUnder current Canadian regulations, any non-recreational use of a drone/UAV requires either an Exemption to be in place or the operator to hold a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC).

New regulations are in the works that will replace most SFOCs, but not expected to to be released until late 2018, with a 6 month roll-out period going into mid 2019.  If you need to be flying before then an SFOC will still be needed.

Developing an SFOC application and all the associated technical documents and standard operating procedures
can be a daunting task for those new to Transport Canada and the aviation industry. There are specific details the regulator requires and a lot of jargon to understand to complete the application properly.  As well SFOCs are handled regionally across Canada, and each region has it’s own specific requirements and procedures around how and what to submit.

For those wanting to do it themselves we provide a number of helpful resources throughout our blog, the key articles can be found in this index .

For those looking for more direct assistance and to help expedite the process, we offer full SFOC application development services. Through these services we provide a full set of documents that Transport Canada typically require the operator to have for a submission:

Operations Manual. This document includes all the standard operating procedures (SOPs), safety & emergencies plans, checklists, log templates, and related. Basically your core processes and procedures for operating a UAV within the requirements Transport Canada put in place. We base this off our own existing proven documents and are always tweaking it based on new information and feedback from various regions.

UAV Manual. This document is specific to the UAV(s) you use and outlines the technical specifications, flight parameters, repair and maintenance procedures/schedules as per the needs of Transport Canada.

SFOC Application. Main application document which outlines the specifics of the purpose, location, dates, airspace, maps, etc for the operation. This makes reference to the other documents above.

National SFOC Form. Transport Canada now has a National SFOC form that is used across all regions.  This form makes reference to the other documents, which contain the mandatory information now required for applications.

Once we have completed the document set tailored to your specifics you will review the material on your end, which we provide and Word format, and submit to your specific TC region, which is done via email (we will provide a template for the message and the proper address it should be sent to).

Generally, our documents meet all the needs of Restricted Complex applications and have been approved in multiple regions both for our own use and numerous clients across a wide variety of usage types from small real estate operations through to cross country industrial corporate users with multiple UAV platforms.

That said the application process can vary from applicant to applicant and region to region based on what specifically you are doing, your experience, UAV being used, and the inspector reviewing it. If an application is returned for further information we continue to assist to address any issues as part of the cost of the service at no additional charge. To date, we have not had any SFOCs declined outright, and generally, TC works with the operator to address all their concerns and get you operating legally.

The documents we provide can be used as many times as you like for multiple SFOC applications, you just need to modify the specifics of the application dates and locations each time.

For most regions, Transport Canada generally wants to see 3 location/date specific one-of SFOCs before you can apply for a region-wide Standing SFOC that runs up to a year.  We include all these in the service for the one fee.  If you provide 3 locations/dates (could be the same location for each) we can put all these together at once along with the Standing application once your others have been approved.

In addition, you will also need to ensure you cover all the knowledge requirements that Transport Canada expects. There is no official course or exam, it is more items they expect operators to know. There are a number of companies providing in person and online courses on this for those that don’t have aviation experience. You can also tackle it via self-study. Here are a couple links for more info:

UAV liability insurance is also required as part of the SFOC requirements, you can learn more on this here. Some regions require proof of insurance as part of the SFOC application, others may only require it to be in place to use the SFOC.

Cost for our SFOC service is now $595CAD+HST with payment made via online bank transfer or credit card once the documents are ready for review, no upfront deposit or payment required.

If you’d like to go ahead with having us create the document package we generally need the following information to start:

  • Full name and address and contact number of the person/company that will be named in the application.  For companies, a proof of incorporation is required as well.
  • Full name and bios with any relative experience of all crew members and what their role will be such as pilot, observer, ground crew, etc. Operations Manager, Pilot, and Observer must be named with their contact (cell) info.
    Bios should include both UAV specific knowledge and training, as well as more general education and work experience, as well as any safety and related certificates.
  • Details of the region you want to operate within, ideally with a Google map screenshot of the boundaries, also including if you need day and night operations if you need controlled and uncontrolled airspace areas.  If you are unsure of the details we will assist to define the area for a given street address.
  • Details on the purpose of the operation, ie video for real estate, aerial mapping, etc.
  • Dates and times you want to perform the operation.  Typically a date range can be provided with backup dates to allow for weather scheduling issues.
  • List of the UAV make, model, and serial numbers that will be used.  Serial numbers are now required as part of the national form.
  • Copy of the UAV insurance policy, proof of coverage is mandatory under the new national form.
  • US operators will be required to submit proof of Part 107 to apply for an SFOC.

Generally, once we have the information we can get the documents together within 1-3 days depending on our schedule.

Email us at sfoc@flitelab.com for more details or if you have any questions.


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