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.


Transport Canada UAV Full Exemption Details

The full details on the recently released exemptions for UAV use by Transport Canada have now been pushed on their website and can be found here Advisory Circular (AC) No. 600-004

An Advisory Circular (AC) provides information and guidance with regards to a specific issue or law. In this case, it provides general guidance, safety practices and explanatory information for operators of unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems operating under an exemption to Sections 602.41 and 603.66 of the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs).

This new document further defines the previous press releases and info-graphic on thew new under 2kg and 2-25kg exemptions.

The main restrictions that may limit their use for many operators are the distance requirements from airports and built up areas:

The pilot operating under this exemption shall only operate a UAV at least five (5) nautical miles away from the centre of any aerodrome.

The pilot operating under this exemption shall only operate a UAV at least five (5) nautical miles away from a built-up area.

SFOC Application Sample

sfoc-sampleOne of the most requested questions we see asked is in regards to the SFOC (Special Flight Operations Certificate) application.  The biggest issue most people run into is the fact that there is no actual SFOC application form, it is a free-form document each applicant creates using their own format and structure to document their proposed operation and related aircraft, procedures, personnel, etc.

The specifics of the SFOC and application process can be found on the Transport Canada website.  A very useful related resource is the Staff Instructions document.  This outlines the application review process used by the Transport Canada staff, and thus provides a good overview of what they will be looking for within an application. (more…)