CASA’s IREX alternate exam for BVLOS operations

IREX alternate exam for BVLOS

To date, to operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight, a pass in the CASA Instrument Rating Exam (IREX) was required. The IREX was designed for crewed aviation and contained many elements that were not applicable to drone operations. For those that have passed the IREX previously, congratulations, there is nothing further for you to do, the IREX qualification is viewed as a higher qualification than the new IREX alternate exam.

The IREX has been viewed as a large barrier to BVLOS operations at scale, Aviassist has been working with CASA for many years to implement an IREX alternate exam for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) operations to contextualise the qualification to be more relevant to drones. After much hard work by CASA and industry, the IREX alternate exam will be released into the next Part 101 Manual of Standards.

Who is it IREX alternate exam applicable to?

The IREX alternate exam is applicable to any Remote Pilot who wishes to operate Beyond Visual Line if Sight (BVLOS) Outside of Controlled Airspace (OCTA). The exam pass in itself does not solely enable BVLOS operations and the Remote Operator Certificate Holder must have an Instrument of Approval for the area they wish to operate BVLOS. To learn how to prepare an area approval application, see our SORA training courses which will give you all of the knowledge to apply for a BVLOS instrument of approval. Alternatively we can provide a consultancy service to obtain an Instrument of Approval on your behalf.

How does the IREX alternate exam work?

The IREX alternate exam is a Civil Aviation Safety Authority exam based on the CASA BVLOS OCTA aeronautical syllabus conducted at ASPEQ exam centres around Australia. Candidates can choose to self-study for the exam or conduct a training course with a training organisation. The aeronautical knowledge standards will be introduced into the CASA Part 101 Manual of Standards. The IREX alternate exam consists of 40 questions with a 70% pass mark, on completion of the exam the candidate will be issued with a KDR (Knowledge Deficiency Report) indicating they have successfully passed the exam. This pass can then be used in lieu of the IREX requirement for Beyond Visual Line of Sight and Extended Visual Line of Sight where applicable.

What does a pass in the IREX alternate exam allow me to do?

A pass in the CASA IREX alternate exam for BVLOS operations allows the holder to operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight under a Remote Operator Certificate that holds an instrument of approval for Beyond Visual Line of Sight Operations. The only difference between the IREX alternate and the IREX is the airspace class in which it allows you to operate. For BVLOS operations within controlled airspace, an IREX is still required. For operations Outside of Controlled Airspace the IREX alternate exam pass is sufficient.

How do i operate BVLOS?

To operate Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) a number of things need to come together to make it a reality:

  • The Remote Pilot needs a pass in the IREX or IREX alternate (BVLOS OCTA) exam*
  • The RPA must be suitable for BVLOS operations
  • The ReOC holder must have an Instrument of Approval to operate BVLOS in a selected area

*A Remote Pilot can be supervised by an IREX holder if they themselves don’t hold one under CASA EX46/21

Aviassist has training products for all of the above or can provide consultancy as required to obtain realise your vision of operating BVLOS.

When does the IREX alternate exam come into effect?

The exact date the IREX alternate exam (the BVLOS OCTA exam) is available depends on the release date of the next version of the Part 101 Manual of Standards, which will trigger the exam availability within the CASA exam system. This is anticipated to be within the coming weeks, Aviassist BVLOS exam training commences on the 1st May 2023, providing enough time for the exam to be released.

What does Aviasist BVLOS exam training look like?

Aviassist has custom developed a BVLOS OCTA exam course conducted online via our Online Live Virtual classroom. In person training is also available at selected offices around Australia The course runs over three days and consists of:

  • BVLOS OCTA exam-specific content aligned to the CASA syllabus of training
  • Custom practice exams
  • Standard BVLOS procedures (we will provide a copy of the procedures for incorporation into your operations manual)
  • Location-specific procedures
  • Introduction to JARUS Specific Operational Risk Assessment for BVLOS operations

The course is led by Aviassist’s BVLOS subject matter experts who have first-hand experience in BVLOS operations, including helping operators in gaining BVLOS approvals covering hundreds of thousands of square kilometres across Australia. Book now

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