Drone Training FAQs

Do drone regulations allow flights in national parks?

Recreational or Commercial Drones are classified as aircraft. The safe operation of aircraft comes under federal Civil Aviation Safety Authority laws. However the ability to take off and land an aircraft comes from the landholder. In the case of national parks, which are managed by the states, permission to take off and land in the parks is usually required. The process to obtain permission varies slightly with each state.

Victoria

New South Wales

Queensland

Tasmania

Western Australia

South Australia

Northern Territory

What is required to gain a Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC)?

To obtain a Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) you need to prepare an Operations Manual and Operational Library which describe how you plan to operate safely. The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) have developed templates which has done most of the hard work for you, which makes the process quicker and easier. By the time you have completed your Remote Pilot Licence you should have sufficient knowledge to complete the remainder of the manuals. If you still have trouble we can help you out for a small fee.

Aviassist has a close working relationship with CASA which means there is no requirement for an additional flight test for our RPAS students. CASA will issue you an example job and ask for a job safety and risk assessment. Once this is complete a phone interview takes place to discuss the safety assessment and explain your responsibilities. The initial fee from CASA will be approximately $1280. For those that have not conducted our Level 1 RPAS course the fee can be up to $5000 due to the flight test requirement.

After 12 months there is a renewal process with a small fee and if operations have been conducted in accordance with your manual your Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) will be reissued for another 3 years.

What is required to obtain a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL)?

To obtain a Remote Pilot Licence for operations within visual line of sight you will need to conduct a  Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) training course. Aviassist conducts five day RPAS training courses nationwide for both Multirotor and Fixed Wing aircraft.  Multirotor training is conducted using the DJI Phantom 4 Quadcopter and DJI Matrice 600 Pro Hexacopter. Fixed wing training is conducted using the Sensefly Ebee.

For those holding existing flight crew (PPL or higher) or those looking to upgrade their Remote Pilot licence to a new aircraft type only type training is required.

My drone is under 2kg. Do I need a licence to fly it commercially?

When operating a remote aircraft less than 2kg, in a commercial capacity, there is the option to operate in the Excluded Category. This allows individuals to fly remote aircraft with no formal licence requirements in the standard operating conditions. However there are heavy restrictions dictating use.

To learn more about your options, click here or visit CASA’s website for more information.

What commercial drone should we buy? Transportability

Transportability considerations play a major role when purchasing a remote aircraft particularly if you plan to travel large distances with your equipment.

Dangerous Goods – Battery sizes greater than 160Wh are not allowed to travel via air. This means you will need to ship your batteries by road prior to the job. Are your batteries safe to travel by air?

Airline weight Considerations – Airlines will rarely take an item more than 32kg due to workplace safety considerations. If you aircraft and box weigh greater than 32kg you may have to freight your equipment prior to your flight.

Physical size – When considering the physical size of your planned purchase also remember you are likely to need a larger carry case for the equipment. Not taking this into consideration may find yourself uttering “we are going to need a bigger car”

Does completing the RePL course help us gain employment?

Hundreds of Australian companies are currently using drones commercially. As knowledge and technology grows and develops surrounding remotely piloted aircraft, more jobs will become available. Obtaining your remote pilot licence prior to employment may make your application more attractive to an employer.

Areas such as surveying, asset inspection, photography, cinematography and agriculture use drones daily to increase safety and efficiency. These positions normally demand additional knowledge to ensure the information is captured in the correct method and converted into a deliverable for the client.

Drone employment opportunities are often posted on sites such as Seek.

To find out more about Drone Pilot Jobs, follow click here.

Is there a chance of hitting another aircraft…How low do piloted aircraft fly?

There are standard lowest heights for piloted aircraft of 500ft above unpopulous areas and 1000ft above populous areas although expect piloted aircraft at any height. As with anything in aviation there are approvals and exemptions to allow us to carry out almost whatever task, no matter how low it is, provided it is completed safely.

There is a mistaken understanding that drones are operated below 400ft  and therefore won’t interact with piloted aircraft. There are some common activities and times where it is more likely a remotely piloted aircraft will encounter a piloted aircraft.

  • Where there is low cloud
  • Along the coastline
  • Near airports
  • Near gas pipelines or power lines
  • In agricultural areas
  • Near Military airspace
  • In the vicinity of  busy training airports

Most of Australian airspace works on a see and avoid principle. That is if you see other traffic, you avoid it.  Airband radio is used to help situational awareness by airspace users describing their location in order to keep separation. Drones are next to impossible to identify from a moving piloted aircraft. Piloted and remotely piloted aircraft need to integrate to keep the Australian airspace system safe.

What is Aviassist’s Online Learning Management System?

Aviassist’s specifically designed online learning management system acts as a centralised repository of content that can be accessed prior, during and after a course, with access for 12 months.
As part of our commitment to our students, the Online Learning management system contains all up-do-date course content, help functions and quizzes.

The Canvas portal can be access 24/7 to refresh and revise where required and was designed to prevent gaps between training and practice, for skills and information that are infrequently used or more complex to remember. Individuals can extend their access after the 12 months subscription if they wish.

Can I fly my remote aircraft at night?

In Australia as part of the standard operating area for drones the answer is no.

Licensed remote pilots operating under a Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) can fly at night provided there is an approved procedure in the operations manual. Procedures hold consideration to aircraft lighting, aircraft positioning, suitable take-off and landing areas and any other safety considerations.

Aviation daylight hours are from beginning of day to end of day, not sunrise and sunset. This allows flight as standard in civil twilight. These times can be found using any good aviation application such as Avplan EFB.

Excluded remote aircraft must be operated between sunrise and sunset only.

Multirotor vs. Fixed Wing- What is best for your business?

Both aircraft systems have their advantages and the best one for you is determined by the job you require it to do. For example, a fixed wing system is more efficient at covering a broad area for applications such as agriculture and surveying, however the multi rotor has the advantage of vertical take-off and landing, with the ability to hover in one location.

The perfect system is one that will capture the required information. The questions that should be asked in a system are; What is the problem we are trying to solve? What is the correct sensor that will obtain the required information? What is the aircraft that can carry the required sensor? Which aircraft has a ground control station that makes this data capture easy to acquire and process?

To read more about which drone type suits your needs, click here

Can I fly my drone Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS)?

It is possible to fly BVLOS but requires a further approval process as regulated by CASA. Aviassist can help you with this process. Read here for more information or visit the CASA webpage.

Are there any prerequisites to the Remote Pilot Course?

Our Remote Pilot Licence courses are designed to be accessible from every level of experience, meaning you do not have to have any prior knowledge or experience.

You will be given access to our Online Learning Management system approximately one week prior to your course commencing and we do recommend you read over General Aircraft Knowledge

What happens if I do not pass my theory or practical training in the allocated time?

At Aviassist, we are committed to seeing you gain your Remote Pilot licence and we understand that occasionally there are factors that prevent this from happening.

In the event that you do not pass the theory component, you will be given an opportunity to revise the information and resit the exam at a later date.

If you require additional flight training, you will be given the opportunity to book onto the practical training days of a course, which dates suit you.

If this is something you do require, it will occur at no additional cost.

What support is available once I have completed my training?

Despite the Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) being perpetual, support does not end when your course ends and the licence has been received.

As part of the course, students will receive access to Aviassist’s Online Learning Management System with a 12-month subscription which provides access to course content, help functions and quizzes.

Our highly qualified staff are available to help answer questions and concerns via phone call or email. Alongside this, Aviassist provides a ‘help’ button built within the online student portal that allows you to connect with our knowledgeable instructors.

Aviassist are committed to creating a safe airspace and are happy to provide all necessary support to facilitate this. For detailed information, read What Support is Available after Training? Or give us a call.

Do I need an Aeronautical Radio Operator’s Certificate to operate my remotely piloted aircraft?

To utilise your RPA professionally you should obtain an Aeronautical Radio Operator’s Certificate (AROC). This qualification allows you to operate safely near airports as well as in controlled and restricted airspace.

The Australian airspace system operates on a see and avoid principle. That is, we use the airband radio to ascertain where other airspace users are and arrange mutual seperation. Airband radio is an essential tool in maintaining situational awareness of other airspace users, particularly when RPA’s are hard to see from moving aircraft and can’t easily be indentified by radar systems.

Aviassist as a professional RPAS trainer includes an Aeronautical Radio Operator’s Certificate in all RPAS training courses.

Can I operate under another Company’s Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC)?

Yes, this is completely legal providing the company holding the Remote Operator’s Certificate can manage the activity and all conditions of the Operations Manual are followed.

Operating under another company’s “Operator’s certificate” is common practise in Australian aviation. Next time you are flying “QANTAS” to New Zealand check at the door to see who you are really flying with.

What is the minimum age to obtain a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL)?

The minimum age to apply for an Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate is 17 years old, this certification is required in many flight areas

What aircraft can I fly with my Remote Pilot Licence?

Aircraft are divided into three categories and are given a weight class. Aviassist can provide RPAS training on fixed wing <7kg and multirotor <25kg type aircraft.

Fixed Wing Multirotor Helicopter Powered Lift
<7kg <7kg <7kg <7kg
<25kg <25kg <25kg <25kg
Per aircraft type Per aircraft type per aircraft type Per aircraft type

Do I need to complete any exams as part of the RPAS training?

Once you are comfortable and confident with the content, you will sit an in-house RPAS exam, an in-house radio exam and also complete a spoken English test. Your flying competency will be assessed as you go and your RPAS instructor is with you for all aspects of training, so you’ll feel confident through the whole way through the process

Does our company require insurance to operate?

Whilst it is not mandated, it is highly recommended to obtain public liability insurance for any flying activity. It is important to obtain the right insurance as some standard policies will not cover you whilst flying. We would be pleased to put you on to our industry partners specialising in aviation

We need help developing the Operations Manual can Aviassist help?

Absolutely! The operations manual is best tailored to your individual business needs so we encourage you to create it yourself providing guidance and support through the whole process. If you need additional assistance writing the manual we can help you with this.

Do I need to purchase my own aircraft prior to RPAS training?

Aviassist will provide you with a remote aircraft for use during training. We prefer to use our aircraft so you can remain focused on the training rather than worrying about your aircraft. This allows us to show you every capability and failsafe of the system.

Can I be a remote pilot at the same time as being the Chief Remote Pilot and Maintenance controller?

Yes you can be all three positions at the same time (eg. Sole Trader)

What is the role of the Maintenance Controller?

The maintenance controller is responsible for approving all maintenance conducted under the Remote Operator’s Certificate. A Remote Operator’s Certificate requires a maintenance controller to operate. The maintenance controller can be any Remote Pilot.

What the role of the Chief Remote Pilot?

The Chief Remote Pilot is responsible for all flying conducted under a Remote Operator’s Certificate and is the liaison between the company and the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. A Remote Operator’s Certificate requires a chief controller to operate.

Do I require a Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot- Visual Line of Sight) to operate Remotely Piloted Aircraft?

To operate remote aircraft in Australia, you are required to obtain certification from CASA. Aviassist has developed a Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) certified syllabus which meets and exceeds the currently Cert III syllabus and industry requirements.

The Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot- Visual Line of Sight) is an academic qualification that is part of the Australian Qualifications Framework. This certificate provides no industry qualifications as it is not recognised by CASA. There are courses available in Australia which are recognised by both CASA and the AFQ however, in most cases having completed both is redundant and usually adds unnecessary expense.

What is the difference between Multirotor, Fixed Wing Licence and Powered Lift Aircraft?

Choosing the right aircraft for the job is an integral part of a utilising drones successfully.

Each of these are a different drone type. There are four distinct drone type training categories for the Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) and each drone type has their pros, cons and licensing requirements. The job you need completed will determine the drone category that is best for you.

To read more about each drone type and the jobs they are best suited for read Which Drone Type Training Suits your Needs?

I have a Multirotor Licence and a Fixed Wing Licence, Can I now fly a Powered Lift Aircraft?

Multirotor, Fixed Wing and Powered Lift are all different types of remotely piloted aircrafts, so therefore requirement individual licences to be able to operate them.

I already have a flight crew license (PPL/CPL/ATPL) do I have to go through the same training?

Great, so do we! You need to complete type training, similar to a type rating in manned aviation. Good news, due to your investment in aviation to date, casa certification is a little cheaper. Flying drones in Australia is a bit different to manned aviation and we include everything you need to know to operate legally and safely.

Can I amend my current Remote Pilot Licence to include additional aircraft types?

Absolutely! Your initial CASA certification provides the fundamental certification on which we can add aircraft types simply by completing the flying component. Once you have reached a satisfactory competency standard we can amend your Remote Pilot Licence to have the additional aircraft types added

Why do I need to provide a drone serial number for an ReOC application? What if I have not purchased the drone yet?

Providing a serial number for your remotely piloted aircraft is a CASA requirement.
All aircrafts that are used by a remote operator must be listed under schedule 1 of the operations manual. The serial numbers in the operations manual can be updated, but there must be a serial number listed for the operations manual to be accepted by CASA. Essentially, you must have a serial number to have an operation.

How do I update my ReOC as I have a new Remotely Piloted Aircraft?

If the new aircraft is the same type as already approved in the ReOC and the chief pilot holds a remote licence for the endorsement, you simply need to put the new serial number into schedule 1 of the operations manual and ensure there is a checklist for the specific aircraft in the operational library. Once complete, email the updated manuals to rpas@casa.gov.au . There is no fee for this.

If it is a different aircraft type, then the chief pilot must complete training and submit Variation Paperwork- Form 101-02 . There is a fee from CASA for this.

Is Aviassist a franchise?

No. Aviassist is a wholly-owned company with professional instructors Australia-wide.
To find out more about Aviassist and the highly-qualified instructors, click here

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