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Operating a UAV in Canada

 

Flight Planning and Timelines

Lawfully operating a commercial UAV requires organization and planning in addition to a well made and perfectly maintained drone.  These are real flying machines with significant weight and power.   Flying a new mission with only a day’s notice is not possible.  Here’s why:

 

 The SFOC

Canada has one of the more developed UAV permit application procedures of any country in the world.  The permit to fly a commercial UAV in Canada is called a SFOC, or Special Flight Operations Certificate.  It is granted to a company or person by Transport Canada on a per job basis once they are comfortable that you can carry out the operation without any chance of harm to persons, animals, air traffic, or property.  The application you submit is lengthy and must completely document your flight plan and a number of other details.  Permits take 30 days typically to process, but cost nothing.

 

Requirements

In short, you have to prove that you will be operating your UAV with absolute safety  to obtain your permit.  The following is a list of typical requirements for your SFOC application:

-UAV insurance. Minimum $100,000 liability

-Technical details of your UAV

-Pre-flight check list

-Flight Details/Dates/Times/Exact location with coordinates and maps

-Trained personnel and their duties

-Safe weather conditions

-UAV will never fly over people, animals, or private property

-Maintain records of every flight

 

 Your Permit

A successful applicant will receive their SFOC which will clearly define the parameters of their flight as outlined in your application.  Additional requirements usually include:

-Maximum altitude above ground level

-Minimum distance from an airport

-Minimum distances to inhabited structures or vehicles

-Other restrictions based on your location and air traffic

 

 

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