Commercial unmanned flight - gaining your remote pilot licence (RePL) and RPA operator's certificate (ReOC)
- Drone frequently asked questions (FAQs)
- List of ReOC/UAS certificate holders
- Operations between 30m and 15m - non-company personnel
- Operational enquiries for drones
- Commercial unmanned flight under 2kg
If you want to fly a remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) commercially in Australia, outside the excluded category, then you need to be licensed and/or certified by us.
This authorisation comes in the form of a remote pilot licence (RePL), allowing individuals to fly for operators, who in turn need to hold an RPA operator's certificate (ReOC).
Effective 29 September 2016, CASA introduced the excluded RPA category, allowing some low-risk RPA operations, including commercial operations, to take place in certain circumstances without the need for a ReOC or RePL, these operations are very restrictive and are limited to a strict set of standard operating conditions.
No further privileges will be available for excluded RPA operations.
Gaining your remote pilot licence (RePL)
There are two ways to gain your RePL:
- If you have no prior aviation knowledge, you will need to complete a course with an RPAS training provider. (Note: Filter for ‘RePL Training’)
- If you have passed an aeronautical knowledge exam for a flight crew licence, you can complete operation (practical type) training with an RPA training provider to get type rated.
More information on gaining your RePL:
Please note that RePLs are not subject to CASA renewal, but operators will be expected to have documented currency requirements.
Gaining your RPA operator's certificate (ReOC)
Once you have gained your RePL, you may operate commercially with a ReOC holder, or apply to get your own certificate.
To gain a ReOC you must:
- complete Application Forms 101-02 and Form 101-04;
- complete and submit supporting documentation including your RPAS operations manual and RPAS operations procedures (Library);
- pay the assessment fee; and
- participate in an interview with CASA.
CASA will issue the certificate upon successful completion of the assessment process.
Previously, CASA authorised UAV operator’s certificates in the RPA categories of multi-rotor, fixed wing and helicopter types across four different weights: < 2 kg, <7 kg, <20 kg and <150 kg. From 29 September 2016, CASA is authorising RPA operator’s certificates (ReOC) in the following weight categories:
- very small (100g - <2kg)
- small (2 - <25kg) (where required with 7kg restriction)
- medium (25 - <150kg)
- large (>150kg).
Applying for an RPAS Industry Delegation
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) may appoint persons as industry delegates to issue RPA operator certificates and perform other functions under Part 101 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR). Such appointments are matters of discretion for CASA, however, not a matter of right for a prospective applicant.
In considering any application for appointment as an industry a delegate, in addition to having regard to the applicant’s ability to perform functions and exercise powers under Part 101, CASA may also take into account the availability of CASA resources necessary to effectively oversee the activities of appointed delegates and whether there is a demonstrable need for one or more industry delegates to service a particular geographic area. With these, amongst other, relevant considerations in mind, CASA may limit the number of persons it appoints as delegates under CASR Part 101. Accordingly, it is advisable that anyone considering applying to become a delegate under CASR Part 101 contact email@example.com before doing so.
Pending review of the current and emerging situation, CASA intends to limit the number of industry delegations issued to 10 persons (organisations and individuals). Eight applications are currently under consideration. In its discretion, CASA may decide to increase this limit in the future.
Applying for a ReOC through an industry delegate
Applicants may choose to apply for and obtain an initial issue ReOC from an industry delegate as an option to applying from CASA. There are limitations to what industry delegates can issue, and they may charge differently to CASA. Find out more information and search for authorised delegates through the link below:
Renewal process for a ReOC
Upon certification, ReOCs are valid for an initial 12 months, requiring the operator to renew after one year of operating. Upon renewal, ReOCs are then valid for three years.
The ReOC renewal process involves:
- CASA will issue operators with a notice to renew three months before the renewal date.
- Applicant pays the renewal fee of $480.00.
- CASA will contact applicants requesting information pertaining to the past 12 months of RPA operation.
- CASA will review the information submitted.
- If satisfactory, the application will be endorsed for renewal.
- CASA will issue the renewed certificate to the operator.
You will need to establish a safety case and a comprehensive risk assessment to support your submission for approval for additional flight activities that require permissions or area approval under CASR 101.080.
Operations that require permissions, area approvals or approval
|Flight authorisation permissions may take in excess of 21 days to complete once payment is received by CASA.||Flight authorisation area approvals can take in excess of 7 - 28 days to complete once payment is received by CASA.
^BVLOS applications may take longer as this requires coordination with the CASA Office of Airspace Regulation.
A Flight Authorisation Application form will be provided to the ReOC applicant and can be returned via email to firstname.lastname@example.org with supporting information.
Once the requested paperwork is received by CASA, an Estimate with the number of hours it will take to assess and process your application will be sent. Assessment of the application will commence once payment of the Estimate is received.
Controlled aerodromes in civil airspace
CASA coordinates with Airservices Australia to issue the appropriate approval to arrange RPA operations within 3nm of controlled aerodromes. For other aerodromes, this assessment is conducted by CASA.
Military controlled aerodromes
Operations planned within military controlled airspace (i.e. military controlled restricted areas) require Department of Defence approval, as all military airspace is restricted. Defence will arrange direct liaison with the unit that will provide the details of an approval and requires a minimum of ten working days to process your request. Request can be made initially through the CASA RPAS online form.
Operations near non-controlled aerodromes require extra care, and you cannot operate over the movement area or within the approach and departure paths of the aerodrome unless you have a CASA instrument of approval through a flight authorisation.
Operations in restricted airspace are only permitted with the permission of, and in accordance with, the conditions imposed by the authority controlling the area.
Operations between 30m and 15m - non-company personnel
Changes in regulation now permit operations within 30 to 15m of a person as so long as specific conditions are met. More information about this is available below.
Remotely piloted aircraft system resources and links
Frequently asked questions, further reading, RPA related website and 'Flight Safety Australia' magazine articles are available online.
If you have any questions or RPA operational enquiries, please contact CASA's RPAS Office by completing the RPA online form.