New BVLOS examination for Australian drones

In Issue69 by FIEALeave a Comment

The drone industry is rapidly evolving, and as a result, the standards and regulations for remote pilots are also constantly changing. Currently, in Australia, organizations holding a Remote Operator Certificate (ReOC) are required to ensure that their remote pilots have a Remote Pilots License (RePL) for the type and size of the drone they will be flying.

However, with the increasing accessibility of operating outside standard conditions, many companies are pushing boundaries and moving to flights that are beyond the remote pilots’ visual line of sight (BVLOS). This requires remote pilots to hold additional licensing requirements on top of their existing RePL to adhere to CASR regulation 101.400 4(b), which previously meant passing the Instrument Rating (IREX) theory examination or an alternate examination (which did not exist).

In 2023, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is introducing a new examination called the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) OCTA examination. This examination will provide remote pilots with the specific licensing and ratings required to operate drones beyond visual line of sight in Australia outside controlled airspace, making it an alternative to the IREX exam.

The BVLOS OCTA examination is designed to be more accessible and less complex than the previous Instrument Rating Examination (IREX) qualification, and it will cover a range of topics, including general BVLOS knowledge, aeronautical knowledge, meteorology, airspace, human factors, navigation systems, and communications. Remote pilots will have the option of self-study or targeted courses to gain knowledge prior to sitting the examination, which will be administered through the current ASPEC provider system.

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