Regulatory Moves for Drones Down Under- Australia introduces new BVLOS exam
by DRONELIFE Staff Writer Ian McNabb
Australia’s Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has introduced a new exam to allow Beyond Visual Line of Sight operation in non-controlled airspace for remote pilots. This 40 question, multiple-choice exam, which covers content relating to BVLOS flights, aeronautics, instrumentation, and human factors, can be taken instead of the Instrument Rating Exam which was previously required. Australia, the first country to enact drone-specific legislation in 2002, has a comprehensive licensing program for drone operators that includes both Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator certificates for corporations seeking to operate drones commercially, as well as a Remote Pilot’s License for the drone operators themselves, but BVLOS operations have been hampered by the IREX requirement established by 101.400(b). The new exam, which covers a narrower range of material, will allow for more Remote Pilot licensees to conduct BVLOS operations without requiring the specialized knowledge necessary for IREX certification.
This move has been welcomed by figures in the Australian drone industry as an important step forward in the regulatory structure around UAVs in the unique Australian market, which features diverse operating environments and has massive potential for growth as mining, agricultural, and industrial companies begin incorporating UAV technology into their operations. As CEO Philip van der Burg of Carbonix, a major Australian drone manufacturer, said in a statement, “Previously, the only way to enable BVLOS operations was to have an IREX qualified pilot either operating the UAS or as a supervising remote pilot. The pathway to having passed the IREX exam was long and arduous, requiring weeks if not months of studying complex commercial manned aircraft aviation procedures to pass an exam that had little to do with BVLOS operations.” He highlighted the introduction of the new exam as an example of CASA’s growing ability to adapt to the changing needs within the UAV space, a growing area of interest for aviation regulators worldwide.
While the new exam should make BVLOS certification and licensure simpler for remote pilots, Australian companies interested in BVLOS operations still are required to receive approval from CASA to operate in a specific area here.
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Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has penned over 3,000 articles focused on the commercial drone space and is an international speaker and recognized figure in the industry. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
For drone industry consulting or writing, Email Miriam.
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