Several people are now using drones for various purposes such as surveying land or transporting goods. Even the military relies on the usage of drones in their operations. If you intend to fly your drone for recreational purposes, you may not be required to get a license. However, for non-recreational use, you may need to obtain the proper certification, as well as an approved training from an accredited organization. This article lists down the steps that you need to take to get your drone pilot license should you need one.
Remote Pilot License (RePL)
You need to apply for a RePL if you intend to fly a drone that is larger than two kilograms for commercial purposes. In the same manner, you will need to apply for a RePL if you intend to fly your drone or your remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) outside the safety rules or standard operating conditions.
For instance, if you need to fly your RPA higher than 120 meters or closer than 30 meters to people, then you need to apply for a license to do so. In the same manner, if you will fly your drone over or above people at any height, creating a hazard to another person or property, then you need to have a RePL. In case you need to fly in controlled airspace or beyond the visual line of sight, then you may also be required to get an AROC or an aeronautical radio operator’s license.
Nonetheless, you no longer need a RePL if you are merely flying for sports or recreation. You also don’t need to obtain a RePL if you are eligible to operate in an excluded category. An excluded category involves a very small RPA which is more than 250 grams in weight but not heavier than two kilograms. In case you have a small RPA that weighs more than two kilograms but not over 25 kilograms, then you don’t need RePL if you are only flying it over your own land.
Rest assured that once you get your RePL, it will be valid for a lifetime because it never expires. There is also no minimum age required to get this license.
● Apply for an ARN
The first thing that you need to accomplish when it comes to obtaining a RePL is to apply for an aviation reference number (ARN). This is a unique ID number that you need to use each time you communicate with the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), you can apply as an individual, or you can also apply as a group or organization.
● Complete the Necessary Training
As soon as you have your ARN, the next thing that you need to do is to complete the required training. The seasoned drone pilots behind UAV Training Australia suggest that you only engage with certified training providers to ensure that your efforts will not be put to waste. The training requirements that you need to fulfill depends on your level of experience when it comes to aviation.
For instance, if you don’t have any aviation experience, then you need to complete the required theory and practical training. On the other hand, if you already have aviation experience, then you may no longer need to complete the theory RePL training. Just make sure that you have passed the theory component of the Part 61 flight crew license or you have an equivalent military certification or air traffic control license.
In case you no longer need to complete the theory RePL training, you can request a CASA flight test to determine your competency. Nevertheless, you still need to log at least five hours of drone flying time under standard operating conditions.
● Download your Digital License
When you have completed the required training to get a RePL, you will already be able to view, download, or print your license. In this case, all you need to do is to sign in to your account in CASA using the device of your choice to view your RePL. There should be a button on the interface that you can click to download a copy of your license. While the download function is currently only supported for iOS users, it is already on the rollout for Android users this 2021.
● Register your Drone
After getting your license, you still need to register your drone before you can fly it. Rest assured that you can complete this step online. The validity of your registration also spans a year and you don’t have to pay for it because the registration is free. Nevertheless, you no longer have to register your drone if you don’t intend to fly it or if you are only flying it for sports or recreation. Unlike with a RePL though, you need to be at least 16 years of age to register your drone.
In the registration process, you may be required to present proof of identity, as well as an ARN. You should also know the make, model, serial number, weight, and type of your drone.
Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate (ReOC)
You need to apply for a ReOC if your business needs to operate as a drone service provider. Likewise, if you need to employ other RePL holders and fly outside of the standard operating conditions of an RPA, then you need a ReOC. As a certified operator, you are expected to have undergone RPA training and competency and be well-versed in airspace use and restrictions. You should also be familiar with the concept of the extended visual line of sight and beyond visual line of sight, as well as essential record-keeping and notification. Unlike a RePL though, you need to renew your certificate time and again.
To sum it up, for you to have a drone pilot license, you need to first apply for an ARN and complete the required training course. After these steps, you will already be able to download your digital license and register your drone. As soon as you have your license, you can already fly your RPA for commercial purposes.