Applying for an SFOC – Part I

Recently, we ran into some folks at our LHS, looking to purchase some pretty high power multi-rotors and get into commercial operation with them. We offered to provide some guidance on getting ready to apply for an SFOC in Canada.

And it might prove useful to others who are thinking of doing the same thing.

This is what we have figured out so far to comply with Transport Canada rules and please note: your mileage may vary.

Our team at ckmmphoto has been looking into use of drones to provide a unique perspective for our clients video and still image productions for a while, and we’re at the point that we’re preparing our first Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC) application.

There are some useful links at the bottom of the post to let you research further

Here’s what we’ve done so far… Take a deep breath…

  • Research SFOC requirements, Transport Canada regulations and various industry websites to understand the regulatory landscape.  Our initial investigation into the November 2014 “Exemptions” indicated that any and all commercial use in any useful situation would require an SFOC
  • We also have a set of Google Alerts running to keep abreast of changes and updates in real time.
  • Picked up the excellent “Unmanned: Textbook for UAS Studies”, published by Aviation Publishers.
  • Wrote our initial Flight Operations documentation, covering the roles of team members (PIC, OpsManager and Spotter), the processes and procedures to be followed pre-flight, flight operations the day of, and post flight.
  • It also covers safety procedures, overviews training that team members need for each role, and checklists to make sure that we remember everything that we need to do to fly and fly safely.
  • Investigate training requirements and various ways to get them. We have located several options around UAV and are planning to complete this in the May timeframe. We also picked up the very useful
  • Joined Unmanned Systems Canada as a business member to get direct industry information as available.
  • Completed training course on Aerial Photograpy and Videography, based on an excellent course by Bruce Geddes (Disco Tuna):
  • Investigated Insurance offerings for UAV in Canada to obtain liability insurance.
  • Lots and lots of flying and simulator time.

We are in the midst of our SFOC preparation… Stay tuned for a update in Part II.


Transport Canada Links

TP 15263 – Knowledge Requirements for Pilots of Unmanned Air Vehicle Systems (UAV) 25 kg or Less, Operating within Visual Line of Sight:

AC 600-004 Guidance Material for Operation Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Systems under an Exemption:

Staff Instruction (SI) No. 623-001: Review and Processing of an Application for a Special Flight Operations Certificate for the Operation of an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) System:


Industry Links

Unmanned Systems Canada :

Canadian Center for Unmanned Vehicle Systems :

FliteLabs : excellent resource for all things aerial and SFOC :


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