New BVLOS Examination for the Australian Drone industry

New BVLOS Examination for the Australian Drone industry

Jackie Dujmovic

The drone industry is rapidly evolving, and as a result, the standards and regulations for remote pilots are also constantly changing. Currently, organizations holding a Remote Operator Certificate  (ReOC) are required to ensure that their remote pilots have a Remote Pilots License (RePL) for the type and size of the drone they will be flying. However, with the increasing accessibility of operating outside standard conditions, many companies are pushing boundaries and moving to flights that are beyond the remote pilots’ visual line of sight (BVLOS). This requires remote pilots to hold additional licensing requirements on top of their existing RePL to adhere to CASR regulation 101.400 4(b), which previously meant passing the Instrument Rating (IREX) theory examination or an alternate examination (which did not exist).

In 2023, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is introducing a new examination called the Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) OCTA examination. This examination will provide remote pilots with the specific licensing and ratings required to operate drones beyond visual line of sight in Australia outside controlled airspace, making it an alternative to the IREX exam. 

The BVLOS OCTA examination is designed to be more accessible and less complex than the previous Instrument Rating Examination (IREX) qualification, and it will cover a range of topics, including general BVLOS knowledge, aeronautical knowledge, meteorology, airspace, human factors, navigation systems, and communications. Remote pilots will have the option of self-study or targeted courses to gain knowledge prior to sitting the examination, which will be administered through the current ASPEC provider system. 

The examination will be a closed book examination comprising 40 multiple choice questions with a pass mark of 70 %. Bookings for the exams are currently not available and the industry will be advised shortly on the first available dates.

The introduction of the BVLOS OCTA  examination is a significant development for the drone industry, allowing remote pilots to take advantage of new opportunities, streamline operations, and achieve cost savings. The examination is expected to provide a more targeted and accessible evaluation of remote pilots’ skills and knowledge, ultimately leading to improved safety, performance, and efficiency in the drone industry.

It is important to note that gaining a pass in the BVLOS examination does not allow you to operate BVLOS without the company holding an approval (instrument) issued by CASA for BVLOS operations in a specific area. These approvals can be obtained by submitting a safety case and submission to CASA at https://www.casa.gov.au/drones/registration-and-flight-authorisations/apply-flight-authorisations/apply-beyond-visual-line-sight-approvals.

To assist remote pilots in gaining the knowledge required to operate beyond visual line of sight, courses will be made available. At the forefront of BVLOS operations in Australia, Hover UAV is uniquely positioned to utilize and share its industry knowledge and skills to teach remote pilots and their teams all the required skills not only to pass the BVLOS examination but also to become successful BVLOS operators and complete the necessary documentation for their companies to fly BVLOS.

Contact our team at Hover UAV today for BVLOS rating course details and available dates.

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