Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC)

Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC) Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC) Application

SFOC Information

CCUVS has successfully developed and submitted Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC) applications for UAS activities to Transport Canada since 2007.  CCUVS’ expertise in SFOC writing and submission assistance for businesses and start-up companies is well documented.    

Through careful consultation and working discussions with each client, CCUVS can quickly and accurately determine the needs and requirements of a specific UAS application for any region in the country.  CCUVS uses a detailed SFOC format that covers all areas identified by Transport Canada to operate a UAS in a safe and responsible manner.  These SFOC templates are copyrighted by CCUVS but can be used for further submissions as required by the licensed owner.

Our standard fee for a relatively uncomplicated SFOC application is $1,300 plus GST.  Client needs will be assessed on a case-by-case basis and more complex applications will be priced higher.  For further information on the SFOC process and pricing, please contact CCUVS.

Please be aware that CCUVS charges for SFOC applications at the time they are delivered to the client.  While CCUVS-written applications have an excellent track record of approval, we cannot guarantee that your application will ultimately be approved by Transport Canada.

As a general rule, there are some features of an SFOC application that can greatly reduce the odds of approval.  These include flying over populated and built-up areas, lack of any UAS training or aviation experience, flying larger UAS (>25 kg), or flying beyond visual line of sight.  UAS operators should consider these risks before submitting an SFOC application.


The Transport Canada Definition of a Model Aircraft means an aircraft, the total weight of which does not exceed 25 Kg (55 pounds) that is mechanically driven or launched into flight for recreational purposes and that is not designed to carry persons or other living creatures.
Transport Canada’s definition; UAS / RPAS means a power driven aircraft other than a model aircraft that is operated without a flight crew member on board. A UAS or RPAS may take the form of airships aeroplanes or rotorcraft. Basically they could be considered to be any unmanned aircraft that performs a useful mission and can be remotely controlled or has autonomous flight capability.
In Canada, no one may operate a UAS in flight except in accordance with a Special Flight Operating Certificate (SFOC). Transport Canada is responsible for the conduct of civil UASs. It is Transport Canada policy that UAS’s operating in Canada must meet “equivalent” levels of safety as manned aircraft. Requirements for the operation of a UAV fall under the Canadian Aviation Regulations (CARs). The CARs are essentially the “rules of the road” for all operations within Canadian airspace. The intent of the CARs is to reduce risk to airspace users as well as to people and property on the ground.

Section 602.41 of the CARs states, no person shall operate an unmanned air vehicle in flight except in accordance with a Special Flight Operation Certificate (SFOC). Section 623.65(d)of the CARs outlines information that should be submitted when making an application:

The requirement for an SFOC is intended to ensure the safety of the public and protection of other users of the airspace during the operation of the unmanned air vehicle. Transport Canada has to be convinced that an individual can conduct their planned operation safely and is familiar enough with aviation regulations before an SFOC will be granted. Certificate holders need to be aware very early in the application process that they must subscribe for adequate liability insurance covering risks of public liability as outlined in section 606.02 of the CARs. This requirement will be a condition in the SFOC
Applications for SFOCs are made through Transport Canada's five different regional offices. These regions are subdivided into Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairie & Northern, and Pacific regions, and information relating to these regions can be found on the Transport Canada website. SFOC applicants are to use the CARs - Part VI, Subpart 3, Division IV – Miscellaneous Special Flight Operations. These standards are found under 623.65(d) along with the Staff Instruction (SI) are to be used as reference for the written application.

This format is what the TC Inspector will review to assess and qualify the application. The requirement for the application to be received, is at least 20 working days prior to the date of the proposed operation and is intended to provide TC Inspectors with adequate time to review Transport Canada does not provide templates for submission. Each application or submission must follow the SI guide lines and answer the questions that are applicable to the specific UAS and nature of the flight tasks. Generally the more complex the UAS and job task, the more comprehensive the SFOC application.
As part of the application process, applicants of an SFOC may be required to have possession of a Radiotelephone Operations Restricted Certificate, and that it may take up to 30 days to obtain radio frequency clearances, and/or radio licenses. CCUVS is an Industry Canada licensed Radio Examiner and provides radio training with each UAS course applicant.