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Canadian SFOC Process

Gord955

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Anyone needing help going through the process, I just completed my 3rd successful application. The first one is pretty daunting, after that, it goes a lot smoother and approvals are quicker. I have seen companies charging as much as $500.00 per application to file each SFOC, you can do it yourself and it's a free service through Transport Canada. Once you establish a safe and responsible track record with TC, they will ask you to apply for a Standing SFOC or a Graduated SFOC depending on the type of work is involved.
 

skemcis

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Anyone needing help going through the process, I just completed my 3rd successful application. The first one is pretty daunting, after that, it goes a lot smoother and approvals are quicker. I have seen companies charging as much as $500.00 per application to file each SFOC, you can do it yourself and it's a free service through Transport Canada. Once you establish a safe and responsible track record with TC, they will ask you to apply for a Standing SFOC or a Graduated SFOC depending on the type of work is involved.
I don't mind jumping through the hoops, the problem I have is applying for exemptions for flying in Class G airspace. Most of our missions this year will be out in remote areas looking for evidence of the HBC and NWC brigade trails. When we have to apply for each mission 20 days in advance, does that mean individually, or can we upload a batch. I can't seem to get a straight answer from TC.
 

Gord955

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You can apply for multiple similar missions on one application. If you complete a Simplified SFOC Application is pretty basic, once you get a few in and approved you can apply for a Standing SFOC which is good for up to 2yrs. It sounds like you may be able to fly under the Exemption rules, but I would still get an SFOC. Here's the link to what you need. https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/getting-permission-fly-drone.html#qualifying. I flew under the exemption rules to gain experience an registered each mission with no problems with Transport Canada. Once your first SFOC is approved a Civil Aviation Safety Inspector will contact you and now you have a strong contact. I email them all the time and they responded promptly.

Below is an email from my first application, they really want to help you in flying your missions safely.

Good afternoon Mr. Koll;

I have reviewed your application and prepared your UAV SFOC.

I sent it for signature, and will be signed Monday and sent to you electronically. I gave you a one month validity period in case you run into bad weather.

I just want to make sure you are aware of the close proximity of special use airspace to your area of operation.

It is a Class F, Alert area. It is a training area. From the surface to 9000’

It is CYA 209(T)

The training aircraft can stray out of the boundaries and can be as low as 300’ depending on exercises they are practicing. They generally avoid flying directly over buildings at low altitude but do keep an eye out.

The frequency for the area is 122.75

The airspace appears on aeronautical charts.

I’m away from the office Monday, but will be back in Tuesday if you have any questions.

Have a great weekend.

Kind regards,

Janet Chrystian
Civil Aviation Safety Inspector | Inspectrice de l'aviation civile
 

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  • do-I-qualify-under-the-uav-exemptions (2).pdf
    412.9 KB · Views: 12

kmz

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Great to hear that you had success with Transport Canada.
I have been told that in a short period of time - perhaps by fall of this year - there will be an actual UAV Licence available. I was advised to still seek out my SFOC but they may be getting replaced. As per any flight licence a test will be given. Also told that taking a course through a TC recognized "school" would be a benefit when it comes time to study for the test. Similar to going to ground school for your PPL.
 

Gord955

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Thanks for the update, that makes a lot of sense, they are most likely bombarded with applications. You still need to take a Ground School course under the current, SFOC process, pilottraining.ca has a great curriculum for UAV pilots.
 

flitelab

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You can apply for multiple similar missions on one application. If you complete a Simplified SFOC Application is pretty basic, once you get a few in and approved you can apply for a Standing SFOC which is good for up to 2yrs. It sounds like you may be able to fly under the Exemption rules, but I would still get an SFOC. Here's the link to what you need. https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/getting-permission-fly-drone.html#qualifying. I flew under the exemption rules to gain experience an registered each mission with no problems with Transport Canada. Once your first SFOC is approved a Civil Aviation Safety Inspector will contact you and now you have a strong contact. I email them all the time and they responded promptly.

Below is an email from my first application, they really want to help you in flying your missions safely.

Standing SFOC is only up to 1 year, unless it is Compliant which is up to 3.
 

flitelab

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Great to hear that you had success with Transport Canada.
I have been told that in a short period of time - perhaps by fall of this year - there will be an actual UAV Licence available. I was advised to still seek out my SFOC but they may be getting replaced. As per any flight licence a test will be given. Also told that taking a course through a TC recognized "school" would be a benefit when it comes time to study for the test. Similar to going to ground school for your PPL.

Yes the entire UAV regulatory process is changing. SFOCs will go away for the most part except for no standard operations. This has been in development now for a number of years.

More info here on our blog:
Proposed Canadian UAV Regs Review Index

Currently it is under final review for Gazzette 2 with possible SPring rollout but much of that timeline is still unknown.
 

jack.s

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I don't mind jumping through the hoops, the problem I have is applying for exemptions for flying in Class G airspace. Most of our missions this year will be out in remote areas looking for evidence of the HBC and NWC brigade trails. When we have to apply for each mission 20 days in advance, does that mean individually, or can we upload a batch. I can't seem to get a straight answer from TC.
Hi skemcis, you may be able to qualify for an exemption for your remote missions
https://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/opssvs/ac-600-004-2136.html
 

Timinator

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Anyone needing help going through the process, I just completed my 3rd successful application. The first one is pretty daunting, after that, it goes a lot smoother and approvals are quicker. I have seen companies charging as much as $500.00 per application to file each SFOC, you can do it yourself and it's a free service through Transport Canada. Once you establish a safe and responsible track record with TC, they will ask you to apply for a Standing SFOC or a Graduated SFOC depending on the type of work is involved.
Gord, what were some of the challenges on getting your first SFOC? I will need to apply for my first one soon and I'm curious to know how tough it is and what they want.
 

Gord955

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If you haven't already, the first step is to get your Ground School completed, you will need to have insurance in place as well. Once that is done you can start with the application. I would apply for a Simplified Site Specific SFOC for your first one, take one section at a time and complete the section before moving to the next section. The first application is a lot of work, once you get past the first one it becomes easier as you just need to complete your site plan and update any information that may have changed. Sections 2 to 4 will just be a repeat of your first application unless you have updated info. Your application should be complete as possible, don't leave anything out. Flite Lab has excellent information as well. The SFOC application comes with instructions long with Site/Plan example(See my attachment). All your measurements must be in nautical miles, not kilometers( I made that mistake on my first app) Keep in mind the whole process is under review and changing.

P.S. At some point you will need a ROC-A as well, so if you get a chance to take it with your ground school, go for it.
 

Attachments

  • SFOC App new.pdf
    577.4 KB · Views: 28
  • Edmonton_FIR_UAV_BEST_PRACTICES.pdf
    1.8 MB · Views: 22

Timinator

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Thanks Gord. I'll review the attachments this weekend. I have ground school booked March 2-4 and will shop for insurance as well. Do you have any advice for an insurance provider?
 

flitelab

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Thanks Gord. I'll review the attachments this weekend. I have ground school booked March 2-4 and will shop for insurance as well. Do you have any advice for an insurance provider?

For insurance we use the following:
Brad Borle, C.A.I.B.
Account Executive
HUB International Insurance Brokers
#203, 33 Mckenzie Crescent
Red Deer County, AB T4S 2H4
Office: 403-309-3770
Mobile: 403-358-1033
Toll-free: 1-888-309-3444
Fax: 403-309-3772
[email protected]
hubinternational.com
 

flitelab

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Generally, you will need 3 or so site-specific SFOCs then you can apply for a standing that can run up to one year.
 

flitelab

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Gord, what were some of the challenges on getting your first SFOC? I will need to apply for my first one soon and I'm curious to know how tough it is and what they want.
It mainly comes down to defining all your standard operating procedures, safety, and emergency protocols, responsibilities of each role and related.

There is lots of info on our blog. We also provide a paid SFOC service as well if needed that provides all the information and application documents ready to go for your specific needs.
 

flitelab

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If you haven't already, the first step is to get your Ground School completed, you will need to have insurance in place as well. Once that is done you can start with the application. I would apply for a Simplified Site Specific SFOC for your first one, take one section at a time and complete the section before moving to the next section. The first application is a lot of work, once you get past the first one it becomes easier as you just need to complete your site plan and update any information that may have changed. Sections 2 to 4 will just be a repeat of your first application unless you have updated info. Your application should be complete as possible, don't leave anything out. Flite Lab has excellent information as well. The SFOC application comes with instructions long with Site/Plan example(See my attachment). All your measurements must be in nautical miles, not kilometers( I made that mistake on my first app) Keep in mind the whole process is under review and changing.

P.S. At some point you will need a ROC-A as well, so if you get a chance to take it with your ground school, go for it.

FYI - The SFOC form you have attached is the old version. Be sure you use the latest which can be found here - http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Corp-Serv-Gen/5/forms-formulaires/download/26-0835_BO_PX
 

Timinator

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Thanks for the tips and the insurance info. This is new to me so I want to make sure I get it right, be a safe operator, and hopefully a good ambassador for the commercial UAV industry in my area.
 

Gord955

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Thanks for the tips and the insurance info. This is new to me so I want to make sure I get it right, be a safe operator, and hopefully a good ambassador for the commercial UAV industry in my area.

FYI - The SFOC form you have attached is the old version. Be sure you use the latest which can be found here - http://wwwapps.tc.gc.ca/Corp-Serv-Gen/5/forms-formulaires/download/26-0835_BO_PX

We also provide a paid SFOC service as well if needed that provides all the information and application documents ready to go for your specific needs.


Timinator

Keep that type of mindset when you make your application, whether you use an old SFOC form or the most recent one I really don't think it's a big deal in Transport Canada's review process, it's the content of the application that counts. Flitelab likes to correct me on my advice, they claim to be the experts, which may be true, but at a price. My advice and experience is unconditional. I can see their point if you are a big operation with multiple pilots and complex missions, hiring a company to help you makes sense. Most of us are proprietors working for ourselves, just starting out, I do believe that you should embrace the process yourself, learn from the process, which in my opinion will make you a better UAS pilot, I guarantee you that you will understand the regulations better than hiring someone to do the paperwork for you.

As far as insurance, here's what I use Drone Insurance Depot
 

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