Where can a drone licence take you?

The answer is: anywhere in the world! Recently our Chief Remote Pilot was asked along on a tour of South Africa and the UK with the Australian Wallabies Rugby Union Team.

Andrew was engaged to provide aerial footage of training sessions and capture promotional footage during the tour. What a fantastic use of the technology and an awesome thing for a drone pilot to be involved with.

Drones are the way ahead for many industries, particularly photography. An aerial aspect is becoming the norm these days and if your business can’t offer this new advantage, you really will be falling behind. Proper training is paramount, if you are serious about your business, then get serious about drones. You never know where they may take you, and your business!

Total RPA Drone Wallabies Tour

Not very often a drone pilot gets to hold up a Rugby Trophy!


Andrew had his work cut out for him to apply for all the approvals ahead of time in each country that he visited, and all his knowledge of drone systems and laws really paid off and the drone operation was even approved at the home of rugby, “The Caldron”, Twickenham Stadium.

CASA Drone Law Changes—What You Need To Know

As of Sept 29, CASA intend to reform some of the laws which govern the use of drones in Australia. The changes cover a wide range of topics but the big news is the sub 2kg deregulation. In basic terms, this amendment means that if used in accordance with a series of normal operational conditions, a person can use a very small Drone for commercial purposes. But before you go out and start snapping up those golden shots with the plan to make millions of dollars there are several things you need to consider.

Under this exemption the operator will never be able to operate outside of standard operating conditions which means:

  1. Never above 400 ft
  2. Never at night
  3. Never within 30 meters of people, vehicles, building etc
  4. Never beyond visual line of sight
  5. Never a drone above 2kg


At this stage there is no way a non licensed pilot can gain insurance for their craft, or for public liability. Most major organisations will require public liability insurance cover before they will allow any contractor on site.

No-fly zones

The strong possibility of operating in areas that are no fly zones for drones. There are countless areas where NO drone flights are permitted, all around Australia, and particularly in built up areas such as city’s. Without training a drone pilot is stumbling around in the dark and can never be sure if he/she is flying legally.

Benefits of being trained and gaining certification.

As a fully certified and trained drone pilot, you will have all the knowledge and skills you need to be able to operate a business in full compliance with the laws and regulations that govern the use of drones. Starting a business in an industry that is highly regulated, you simply must be trained and certified properly.

As a licensed operator you can fly drones of practically any size, without restrictions. Most small drone operators soon reach their limits of the small camera technology and want to upgrade their machines and cameras to enable better results.

Licensed operators can apply for exemptions to fly in airspace that NO sub 2kg drone pilot can fly in (without certification), for instance Restricted areas, controlled airspace (near airports) and closer than 30 meters to people and vehicles, or even at night time.

In a nutshell, the sub 2kg rules are NOT intended for a person to go out and start a drone business. The rules are designed so the hobbyist can make a few bucks here and there without breaking any laws (that they know of).

UAV Drone Jobs: A Bright Future Predicted in Australia


There is little doubt that UAVs (drones, RPA, RPAS or whatever your preferred term!) are emerging as the new kid on technology block, but recent surveys carried out in the USA are indicating the entire industry is well on its way to becoming a major player in the overall economic landscape with literally thousands of new jobs being created.

While the numbers so far are coming from the USA, the potential here in Australia is just as promising. Drone pilot jobs will fast become another career path that school leavers (or anyone with an interest in aviation) can take and earn a very respectable income. Pilot wages are are very respectable and could be enticing for any budding pilot to move into the industry.

Like any emerging technology, more and more uses for UAVs are popping up every day, so potentially the UAV pilot jobs that will be available in 5 years time are not even dreamed of yet. It’s an incredibly exciting time to get involved with this emerging industry.

UAV pilot operators job/earning potential

The following figures are taken as a survey conducted recently which shows attractive earning potentials for those considering working in the UAV industry.


Image source http://www.uxvuniversity.com/uav-pilot-training-certificate/

Employment requirements

As with any job, there are requirements and certifications you will need before you start to earn an income as a commercial UAV pilot. In Australia you will need a CASA issued UAV Controllers Certificate, which is your ticket to a UAV job working as a pilot.

You can also start your own business using UAVs if you wish, which will require another certificate called an Operators Certificate.

With the USA predicting more than 70,000 new jobs being created in the first few years alone, the outlook here in Australia is just as bright!

uav jobs employment



CASA and the UAV Industry

CASA stands for ‘the Civil Aviation Safety Authority”. The CASA’s role is to govern and administer aviation in Australia. That means everything from Jumbo jets and regular passenger transport aircraft, right down to UAV’s and flying models fall under CASA’s umbrella.
In fact casa’s mission statement is “To enhance and promote aviation safety through effective safety regulation and by encouraging industry to deliver high standards of safety”

To get into the UAV/RPA industry, you will be doing so through various tiers of certifications issued to you and or your business by the CASA, so it really does pay to get to know the institution, its players, the helpers, the hinderers and the system itself.

If you go to the CASA website you may find it difficult to get the information you are looking for as it contains constantly up dated information and the shear volume of info is astounding.

So lets simplify things for a moment.

CASA are responsible for the regulation of all airborne ‘operations in the country, which will include YOUR UAV business.
Basically, it is CASA who give, and its CASA who take away. Once you qualify for the issue of a UAV controllers certificate, and or UAV operators Certificate, its is CASA who give it to you. Should you come afoul of the regulations in someway, and operate illegally etc, it is CASA who will issue fines and possibly remove your privileges.

CASA wrote the rules governing UAV’s back in 1998, well before the technology we have available today, was even thought of.
Its for this reason that the current rule structure doesn’t really fit with current operations. Rules like the ’30 Meters from people or buildings” for example, is a rule designed to keep fast moving, heavy, petrol powered fixed wing aircraft at a safe distance from the general public. The rule makers did NOT have small multi rotors in mind when they wrote those rules, so it is little wonder that it doesn’t quite fit with what we are trying to do these days.
CASA are currently reviewing the rules, the oversight and the regulation of UAV’s and are indicating they want to simplify the process for certifications, and also relax some of the rules we are currently bound by.
That’s the good news. The bad news is, the wheels turn slowly, so the changes will take time, and when they do come, it will always be a compromise between what the Industry wants, and what the CASA feel is a safe level of oversight.

Drone, UAV, RPAS, RPA—what does it all mean?

Ok, so you have an idea, a possible way toi utilize this fantastic new technology, or you are already running a business and you can see a real potential for adding an aerial element to it. You sit in front of your computer and start googling. Within minutes, your eyeballs roll back in your head, your hair stands up on end and your brain starts to hurt! What are all these acronyms and terms? What on earth is an RPA? What is a UAV? And who the heck are this CASA mob? Its all too hard, too difficult, so you go back to looking at funny cat videos on youtube and decide aerial applications are just too difficult.

Don’t despair, you are not alone.

What is an RPA? A drone? A UAV? RPAS? The answer is simple, they are all the same thing. There is no real difference between them, its just such a new and emerging technology that those with skin in the game are still deciding on what to call the things.
CASA is the Civil Aviation Safety Authority, and they are responsible for ALL things aviation in Australia, from Jumbo jets, right down to small models flying in parks. CASA are trying to get the public to catch on to calling them RPA’s, which stands for “Remotely Piloted Aircraft”, and are trying to get away from the use of the word ‘Drone”. The reason for this is simple; people have a bad perception of ‘drones’. The mere word conjures images of robotic death machines patrolling the sky, or spying into your bedroom while you stand naked in front of the mirror marvelling at your Adonis like physique!
The fact is those perceptions are not correct. Yes, there are robotic death machines fighting in Wars, but NO they are not peering into your bedroom, or watching you mow the lawn in your undies!.

Remotely piloted aircraft are emerging in many many industries as tools to aid us simple humans in our various day to day lives. The uses are endless, and we will cover some of these in later Blogs, but for now lets define some acronyms.

RPA= Remotely Piloted Aircraft
UAV= Unmanned aerial Vehicle
Drone= See above
RPAS= Remotely piloted aircraft system
CASA= Civil Aviation Safety Authority
CC= Controllers certificate
UOC= Unmanned Operators Certificate