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CASA’s Manual of Standards for Drone Operations Consultation

CASA has released a summary of the results from a drone operations consultation performed regarding a proposed Manual of Standards.

CASA spoke with Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) holders, Remote Pilot Licence Holders, recreational model flyers and others in the industry on a proposed MOS on Part 101 (Unmanned Aircraft and Rockets).

Throughout the drone operations consultation, most were positive in supporting the route CASA was taking in their Manual of Standards for for unmanned aircraft operations regarding the required training, record-keeping and airspace regulations.

Remote pilot licence (RePL) syllabus

Some commented that the aeronautical knowledge syllabus for RePL holders contained too much detail and lacked relevance, especially for drone operators that just carried out simple operations.

CASA, nevertheless, decided to proceed with the syllabus, arguing that that there was “little that could be left out”. A ‘RePL lite course’ would not differ much at all.

Instead, CASA would limit new RePL holders to an RPA of 7 kg maximum gross weight, which most agreed with.

Further, CASA decided not to include a trial introductory flight (TIF) in a conventionally piloted aircraft as part of the syllabus. Respondents to the consultation were split on the issue, although many thought it simply was not relevant, it was to costly and would not be effective in achieving the syllabus’ goals.

Upgrading a RePL

Comments from the consultation generally indicated that five years was too long for exam credits for applicants for an upgraded RePL. CASA has agreed that this is to be reduced to three years  who cannot show ongoing industry involvement.

The credit period for those who can show such involvement will, however, remain at five years.

Comments also supported the rule that RePL holders with a 7 kg limit on their licence could remove that condition through short practical training. CASA will also keep the requirement for a training organisation to deliver training in a new category of RPA (less than 25 kg).

Operation of drones near airspace and aerodromes

This generated significant discussion throughout the drone operations consultation, with some feeling more controls were needed and some feeling too many restrictions existed.

CASA was, however, satisfied that the proposed standards would provide adequate protection for conventionally piloted aircraft operations and flexibility for certified RPAS operators. This includes the ability to attain ongoing approval for operations within 3 nautical miles of a controlled aerodrome when operating outside of the approach and departure paths.

The MOS will also provide for ‘shielded operations’ near non-controlled aerodromes.

You can read the full drone operations consultation summary here.