SFOC: What you need to know for your application

SFOC: What you need to know for your application

So you found out that you need a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SFOC), but you don’t know what that means or even what it should look like. I routinely get asked, “what kind of information is Transport Canada looking for?” “What is the typical information and format of an SFOC?”

The main issue is that Transport Canada has no standard format for an SFOC application (with the exception of Ontario) or a fee. This is one reason why an SFOC approval can take up to 20 working days. Your SFOC application’s content will depend on what your UAS mission is, and the expectation by Transport Canada is for the applicants to know what they are talking about.

If you are starting to feel, or in your pursuit of researching the SFOC application, frustrated – you are not alone.

There is no one right way to do an SFOC, as it depends on what you are doing. However, there are a few main items that your application should have. These are:

  • Details on your pilot
  • Description on the intended mission
  • Description on how you intend to fly
  • Details on the flight location with dates and times
  • Description of your UAS platform and related flight and controls systems
  • Detailed plan that identifies how you will deal with the safety risks and emergency procedures
  • Details on the personnel, their roles and experience
  • Declaring your insurance coverage and any associated certificates, licenses or training

We have put together an SFOC Guidance Paper together, to help you with your SFOC application and what Transport Canada will be expecting from you. For a copy of the SFOC Guidance Paper please send us a request and we will gladly send it to you. Once again, each SFOC is different, depending on the use of your UAS, and these are only to be used as a reference.

VOZWIN has supported and has given guidance to UAS companies with platform selection and with SFOC applications. We are regarded as stakeholders in the UAS marketplace by Transport Canada. We are here to work with you and help your UAS business thrive.

Post author

Sean Smith, a forward thinking challenge oriented tech entrepreneur excellent at transforming innovative ideas and concepts, and developing them into sustainable companies. Having served in senior level leadership positions at both for-profit and not-for-profit organizations, including as the Head of QuEST's Canadian Business Unit and as a Board Member for organizations focused on technology and welfare. Founder of Smith Management (Business Management Consulting) and VOZWIN (UAV Technology) in 2015, an awarding winning executive (2014 Wings Magazine Top 20 Under 40 Award Recipient), a recognized stakeholder by Transport Canada for UAV related items, and a founding member of the ENSCO Canadian Division, ENSCO's first international subsidiary (ENSCO Avionics Canada Inc.). Experienced with site start-up, lean operation, finance, technical and management leadership for projects spanning full life-cycle engineering development, growth strategy and business planning. Sean had been with ENSCO for over 10 years. He began his career at ENSCO in 2006 as a systems analyst and subsequently occupied positions of increasing responsibility in engineering and operations. He was the manager of Canadian operations from 2007 to 2011 before taking on the responsibilities as Director. During his tenure at ENSCO, he has been a key collaborator in the setup, development, strategic planning, marketing and growth of the Canadian subsidiary. Sean earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering with a specialization in thermodynamics, fluid dynamics and propulsion systems in 2005 from Concordia University. In his final year of his undergraduate program, he was awarded with the Richard M.H. Cheng Award by the University for his unique unmanned aerial vehicle design.

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