Remote-controlled aerial systems fall under different rules and regulations depending on where they are to be operated, and for what purpose. These systems are often classified as either UAVs (Unmanned Aerial Vehicles), or UASs (Unmanned Aerial Systems).
To fly a UAV in Canada for commercial purposes, an SFOC (Special Flight Operating Certificate) must be obtained from Transport Canada. TC has divided the country into five different regions: Atlantic, Quebec, Ontario, Prairies and the North, and the Pacific - each with its own regional representative who handles the SFOC applications. Therefore, which regional office a submission is made to depends completely on where in Canada the filming is to take place. If a film shoot is spread throughout the country, an SFOC must be acquired in each regional office independently.
The good news is that the application is completed by us at SkyMotion Video, and depending on the exact location, we may already have the SFOC in place. However, in order to complete an application, or to ensure whether or not a permit is already in place, we require some specific information from our clients regarding the flight operations. These include:
In most cases, Transport Canada requires a minimum 20 business days for processing an SFOC application. Over the years, within a few regional offices, SkyMotion Video has been fortunate enough to obtain SFOC's which are valid over an extended period of time, which are not site-specific. These have allowed us to offer much quicker processing turnarounds of about 48 hours depending on the exact location. Therefore, if you have a tight schedule, the best is to provide us with as much information as possible so that we can verify the region and airspace in order to let you know the permit processing time.
For more information on regulations and SFOCs, please visit Transport Canada’s website: http://www.tc.gc.ca/eng/civilaviation/standards/general-recavi-uav-2265.htm
Currently we do not operate our aerial systems within the USA due to the FAA's current total ban on the use of UAVs for commercial applications. Plans are in place to hopefully create regulations sometime in 2015. We are still available for terrestrial shooting using the MOVI camera gimbal.
Regulations are coming into place around the world. Certain countries only requires basic filming permits, while others have rigid regulations and licensing already set in place. Before considering the use of a UAV or UAS in a specific country, a check should be made with the authorities in the region to see if any regulations or standard operating procedures have been established.