Recently, I cleared my calendar for a week to study with FPV Australia for my Remote Pilot’s Licence; Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate; and Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate.
Why did I do that? Anyone can fly a drone, can’t they? Not exactly.
The drone industry has exploded in just a few short years.
It’s taken a while for laws to catch up, but after a string of incidents in Australia and around the world, most recently at London’s Gatwick and Heathrow Airports where thousands of flights were disrupted, Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA ) is now regulating the sector much more stringently to ensure public safety.
There are exclusion zones and no-fly zones. There are rules about how high drones can fly and how far away from buildings and people they need to be.
Coming into effect November 2019 is the requirement for ALL drones, whether they be for recreational or commercial use, to be registered with CASA.
Commercial drone use
If someone is being paid to fly a drone, they must comply with the regulations for commercial drone use which CASA already has in place.
There are three steps to becoming fully certified for commercial drone use in Australia and those who haven’t taken them – and charge for their services – are operating illegally.
1. RePL (Remote Pilot’s Licence)
An RePL allows a pilot to fly a drone larger than 2kg OR for commercial operations. It also provides additional permissions above the drone safety rules that apply to recreational users. Those with no aviation experience need to find a certified training provider, like FPV Australia, and complete the required theory and practical training. RePLs do not expire.
2. AROC (Aeronautical Radio Operator’s Certificate)
To fly in controlled airspace or beyond visual line of sight a pilot also needs an AROC and an aeronautical radio. This enables them to “watch and listen” and if necessary transmit on an aeronautical radio frequency. AROCs do not expire.
3. ReOC (Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate)
To fly commercially and independently, a pilot must hold a ReOC. If they don’t, they can only be commissioned to fly by a ReOC holder. Your first ReOC is valid for 12 months with renewal required every three years at a cost of $480.
The benefits of using a certified operator
Using a certified operator not only means you get to fly in areas not authorised for recreational pilots, it also means that prior to the shoot you can rest assured your pilot will:
- undertake a risk assessment of the flight path;
- contact relevant authorities, if necessary, for any clearances;
- log their flight plan with CASA; and
- test and safety check all their equipment.
This gives you peace of mind that you will not face any fines (which could be up to $10,500) or be criminally liable if something goes wrong.
I am pleased to report that as I passed all my tests, BY GEORGE STUDIOS will soon be included in the Remote Operators Certificate Holders Directory.
Standard public liability insurance excludes drones
BY GEORGE STUDIOS has extended public liability insurance to include drones, as this is not covered under a standard policy.
BY GEORGE STUDIOS is CASA certified and fully insured for your next drone shoot. Email to discuss how we can take your production to the next level.
Robb Shaw-Velzen ACS