3689595165?profile=originalThe Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority has published a proposal to remove commercial remotely piloted aircraft from CASA oversight.

The NPRM states that it "relates to Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) used for commercial operations".

It goes on to say "a key part of this amendment acknowledges the existence of a "low risk" class of RPA operations, which are determined as small RPA with a gross weight of 2 kilograms and below while they are being operated under the standard RPA operating conditions as defined and discussed in this NPRM".

"For these RPA operations, CASA proposes that the requirements for a Remote Pilot (RP) Certificate or an Unmanned Aircraft System Operator’s Certificate (UOC) will not apply."

This would be pretty revolutionary given the number of useful tasks a lightweight UAV can perform.  A farmer can freely use a Bixler to survey not only his or her crops but also also the crops of neighbours and charge a fee.

"Safe skies for all" is CASA's motto, leading to some huffing and puffing by some who foresee the nation's airliners sucking in "drones".  Any idiot who wants to fly near full-size aircraft isn't going to be stopped by needing an operator's certificate, they're already breaking plenty of rules.

It may be a sensible way to ultimately increase public knowledge and responsibility regarding remotely piloted aircraft.


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  • @Mike,

    The viewpoint from OEM manufacturing is, that there is no-one capable within CASA to certify UAV's, because they do not possess the skill set or resources to do such an activity.  Knowing this, how does this process work then? 

    The second scenario is buying an airframe from X manufacturer (whether it be overseas or local).  How many manufacturers supply specifications of flight limits, payload capacities, airframe testing data etc.  The reality is, it literally does not exist, only a select few do.  So how does one certify a plane, when the data from the manufacturer is not available, because it's being produced as a model? 

    This among others is one of the many reasons why this proposal is unrealistic for an emerging industry in AUS.

  • @Not Sure: I don't see how this could kill the manufacturing industry? Surely it would increase the market at the small end. There is no requirement to "certify" larger craft. YOU need to be a certified operator, but airframes are approved case-by-case.

  • Jon, you don't need a UOC for commercial ops as long as you're below 2kg and operating iaw the "standard operating conditions" - LOS, <400ft, 30m from people.


    If you're keen to play in this space, noting that you wont be doing sports video or real estate, it's worth throwing your $0.02 via the NPRM.  There seems to be growing opposition among the already certified operators to any change.  They're wrapping it in safety, but I think there's an element of protectionism in there.


    Theoretically, the SAR stuff they were trying to do in Texas would be prohibited here under the current regs (it's not "hire or reward", but it's also not "sport and recreation"), however this relaxing of the regs for under 2kg would give you that scope. 

  • @MikeRover - I agree it looks like hype but I meant to write "a proposal to remove lightweight commercial remotely piloted aircraft from CASA oversight." - emphasising lightweight as I did in the headline.

  • If you read the document it says:

    For RPA with a gross weight above 2 Kg in all operating conditions and all RPA operating
    outside of the standard RPA operating conditions, conducting commercial operations, the
    operator requires an approval in the form of a UAS Operator’s Certificate (UOC). A UOC is
    similar in nature and intent to the existing Air Operator’s Certificate for traditional aviation
    operations. Commercial activities (for hire or reward), could include, but are not limited to:
     aerial surveying
     aerial spotting
     aerial photography
     agricultural operations
     research and development
     exhibitions and demonstrations.

    So I think you will need a OC for any commercial operation with any RPA even if it is below 2Kgs

  • that's all this is, simply a "proposal".  If you believe that 90+ licenced OC holders (who are not represented by random groups or associations) in AUS who have paid thousands to have qualified pilots along with a UOC will just sit idly by and allow open season for <2kg commercial activity think again.  This would impact greatly on an emerging industry.  This proposal also kills the manufacturing industry within AUS of UAS OEM production by having to certify drones >2kg, which currently there are no means (or internal CASA ability for that matter) to certify drones by CASA, nor regulate them again established CARs.  .  It only highlights CASA's inability to process and prosecute illegal commercial UAV flying, it's no secret here in AUS, that CASA has been substantially under-resourced for years, and has not made any progress to rectify their own internal inadequacies.  It's also interesting to note the list of people who sat on the committee (which was not randomly picked) which created this document, it a pretty sad situation.

  • Message to FAA guys - - Please read this and understand the value of a similar move.

    As it is now you are going to be trying to regulate a 4 ounce Hubsan with a camera on it - good luck with that.

  • The FAA will never see this and think "Oh wow, what a logical and wonderful idea!"

    1) They don't want what is sensible. They want to regulate anything they can.

    2) They want to charge fees.

    3) Politicians want $ for re-election campaigns from lobbyists while creating said regulations.

    4) It would ruin the AMA's current extortion plan to force all hobbyists to joint the AMA and pay dues.

    5) It makes too much sense.

  • MR60

    @Stefan, good idea lol. And let's apply some of your brainwashing psy ops techniques on these bureaucrats.

  • Noone's getting cocky Mike, but few seem to understand the legal difference between publicity blurb, AC's and the regulations. Only one of which CASA can formally enforce. 101.075 carries an exception which in this case is important. Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting people should rush out and test the legal waters. I believe, for example, that with the right preparation and care it could be legal to fly your model aeroplane down the centerline of the duty runway at EMEN without talking to ATC. I'm not saying it'd be a bright thing to do, but from a theoretical legal standpoint CASA would have to hunt high and low to find some solid basis to hang you on
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