One of the terms that you might hear on occasion is “blanket SFOCs”, and you may be wondering just what this is. In the past, these were essentially long-term certificates that gave the operator the power to perform a number of operations over a long period. This meant that they did not have to keep reapplying for each job and operation that came up.
The new process has something similar, but it goes by a different name. Currently, they are called Standing SFOCs. They are good for up to three years for compliant operators, and up to a year for all others. According to Transport Canada, ...
When Transport Canada announced they would be coming out with exemptions for UAV operators who wanted to fly commercially everyone hoped that it would ease some of the restrictions.
However, when the exemptions came to light, they did still contain a fair number of restrictions for the most part - but did make the process easier if you could comply by those restrictions.
They released an infographic that contains details on the exemptions for UAVs 2kg or less, and those between 2.1kg and 25kg. We’ll be looking at those exemptions below. They come straight from Transport Canada, which has more detailed explanations of the exemptions on their website.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the different types of applications for SFOCs, so you can get a better idea of which one is the best option for you. Currently, TC has four different types of applications. They include Compliant Operator Application, Restricted Operator Application (complex), Restricted Operator Application (simple), and Restricted Operator Application (MAAC/AMA).
Compliant Operator Application
This is the most complex application. It’s the one that TC prefers applicants to use because it offers more flexibility in operations and can be issued for a longer period of time. However, it can take time to complete all of the needed parts of the document, and you need to provide a wealth of information to TC in order to get the SFOC.
Applying for an SFOC can be a confusing process. There really isn't an "application form" you can simply fill out. The following is a simplified set of guidelines of what should be included in an SFOC application document. This outlines just the main sections that you need to include. Depending on your organization and operation, you may want or need to include more.
Note - this is not a comprehensive list of all the components of an SFOC application. Use this as a guideline only. The full requirements for an SFOC application are on the Transport Canada website.
Some of the information mentioned below may be in other documents, such as the UAV manual or operations manual. If it is, then you can reference where to find that information and do not need to include it again in the application.
Understanding the process for applying for an SFOC can be quite confusing, especially given some of the new rules and exemptions. In this series of articles, we’ll be looking at the different parts of the process and what you need to know and do on your way to getting an SFOC.
One of the benefits about the new rules and regulations is that they are streamlining the process. This is making it faster and easier for businesses in Canada to start using UAVs.
There is still some confusion though, so we’ll try to clear that up in these posts.