CASA Updates its Advisory Circular on Drone Licensing and Operations

Published: 8 January 2020

In December 2019, the Australian Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) released an updated Advisory Circular (AC) concerning drone licensing and operations.

The AC is coded AC 101-01 v3.0 and titled Remotely piloted aircraft systems – licensing and operations. The full 70-page AC is available here.

Note that it is not an entirely brand new AC, it is merely an update from v2.1 which was last updated in July 2018.

The purpose of AC’s are to  provide advice and guidance to illustrate a means, but not necessarily the only means, of complying with the Regulations. AC’s also explain certain regulatory requirements by providing informative, interpretative and explanatory material.

This AC was developed to provide guidance to drone operators, remote crew, manufacturers and maintainers.

It describes the general requirements for non-recreational use of drones. It also provides guidance to operators and crew on the safe and legal operation of drones in all classes of airspace. However, it does not provide guidance for autonomous aircraft.

In our view, a close and careful read of the AC is an absolute necessity for new or inexperienced commercial operators. For seasoned operators, there is nothing particularly astonishing however it is nonetheless a useful refresher on the obligations of operating your drone (or as replacement for Temazepam if you’re not quite getting that 8 hours of shut-eye per night).

The AC covers the following topics:

[1] Reference material;

[2] Introduction;

[3] Types of RPA operations;

[4] Included RPA operations;

[5] Specialised RPA operations;

[6] RPA operator’s certificate;

[7] Remote pilot licensing and qualifications;

[8] Design, certification and maintenance.

This update also comes with a side-car, a 41-page Annexure titled ANNEX A TO AC 101-01 Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) Training Couse – CASA Guidance. This annexure is available here.

The annexure is likely to only be of interest to drone training providers as it is aimed at organisations intending to deliver training for the issue of a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL).

The Annexure covers the following substantive topics:

(i) Applying to conduct RPA training;

(ii) RePL course syllabus of training;

(iii) RePL training course curriculum;

(iv) RePL training course material;

(v) RePL training course operational procedures;

(vi) Applicaion for RePL training – checklist.

Happy reading and a Happy New Year. As always, please be in touch if you have any questions.

Fly free!

The Drone Lawyer

8 January 2020