Drones, SOFC and the hefty fines.

Posted on: February 03, 2016 by Nettel Media

Category: General

Drones, SOFC and the hefty fines.

Last summer we talked about drones or UAV’s being used to record video and how regulations would come into place to ensure safety and privacy for the general public. Fast forward eight months later and Transport Canada’s rules are in place regarding the use of drones.


The importance of these rules derives from the fact that drones vary in sizes and weights. Larger drones pose a risk not only to people, but also to public and private property. Therefore, if you are planning on using a drone to record video for business or profit purposes, then you legally must apply for a Special Flight Operations Certificate (SOFC) at Transport Canada’s website. Any individual or corporation found operating a drone without a certificate, when one is required, will receive a hefty fine; $5,000 for an individual and up to $25,000 for a corporation.


Why are these rules and SOFC important? There have been many incidents in the past few years involving people who don’t know the proper safety procedures and legal obligations to operate a UAV in Canada. In December of 2014, a drone photographer from Montreal was fined $1000 dollars by Transport Canada for flying his drone near a house to take pictures for a real estate agent. Meanwhile, out in British Columbia, a team of realtors were doing the exact same thing but didn't get charged for it. Why you may ask? Well, this is because every time that they flew their drone for work purposes they obtained a Special Flights Operations Certificate which made it legal to film the houses. The advantage of obtaining a SOFC is that an individual operator or corporation will quickly build credible reputation and a positive record with Transport Canada.


When it comes to using drones for recreational purposes, it is important to be aware that more and more venues are establishing “No Drone Zones” in order to ensure the safety of the public and performers or athletes. Leagues such as the NFL and Barclays Premier League have established “No Drone Zones” at many of their stadiums due to people trying to view the game without actually paying for a ticket or trying to capture their own point of view of the event. For the upcoming Super Bowl, the Federal Aviation Administration has released a PSA to ensure fans are aware of the regulations.


If you want to use drones to record professional video, then it is important to consider a few things before you apply for a SOFC. First of all, learn how to fly your UAV properly, practice makes perfect. Start by flying your drone low and getting a comfortable feel for the controls. Make sure that you do this in a large, open space so that you don’t crash and damage your drone or someone’s property. Second of all, become familiar with the type of drone, weight, serial number, etc., that you are using. You will need to provide this information to any law enforcement office. Thirdly, obtain the proper insurance to cover for any damage to your drone or third party (we will talk more about this in the future). And fourthly and finally, no matter how great a flyer you become, you will crash at some point. Wind, rain or any other severe weather conditions can cause the drone to not react properly and spin out of control. All UAV operators must know how to crash properly as to avoid damage to people or property.


While drones may produce beautiful footage and photography, they can be one of the most dangerous technologies. If you are unsure if you need a SOFC to fly a drone, check out this infographic from Transport Canada.


Would you like to record aerial footage and are unsure what company to hire, then contact us and we’ll make sure that we guide you to a professional with the proper credentials.

Blog Comments