Proposed policy amendments to Part 101 MOS registration, accreditation and transitional provisions - (CD 2014US)

Closed 23 Sep 2020

Opened 9 Sep 2020

Feedback updated 1 Oct 2020

We asked

From 9 to 23 September 2020 we invited public comment on proposed changes to the rules for drones, also known as remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).

The summary of proposed changes included:

  • the operation of foreign-registered drones under a permission in Australian territory
  • the proper conduct of online examinations (operator accreditation)
  • all registered RPA to, at all times, display CASA-generated registration mark(s) legibly
  • registered drone modifications and the criteria any modified drone must meet for it to be re-registered, or registered, as a new drone
  • replacing the requirements for excluded category notifications with registrations to reduce administrative burden on operators.

We also proposed additional relief in response to COVID-19, including a transitional amendment to Chapter 2 of the Part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS) for remote pilot licence (RePL) training courses and an 18-month extension for RePL training instructors to obtain the required qualifications.

The consultation asked if participants agree the proposed amendments to Part 101 reflect the policy change as set out in the summary of proposed changes, if it will work as intended and that the amendments will not result in unintended consequences.

You said

CASA thanks the contributions provided by respondents and acknowledges that their feedback is beneficial for the consultation process. The consultation received responses from 56 individuals or organisations, including 17 remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders, 14 remote pilot licence (RePL) holders, seven training organisations and eight excluded category RPA pilots.

Key feedback

Responses were largely supportive of the proposed amendments. Sixty-seven per cent of respondents agreed that the proposed amendments reflected the change in policy and that they will work as intended. Thirty per cent of respondents did not agree. Almost 58 per cent agreed the proposed amendments would not result in unintended consequences and 39 per cent did not agree.

Respondents provided additional comments to support their response. Overall, additional responses provided feedback outside the scope of the consultation’s proposed amendments and mostly related to the registration requirements and drone safety rules, such as operating near aerodromes, maximum operating height and operating 30 metres from people. As part of our continuous improvement process we have documented this feedback which may inform future consultation and amendment.

Some responses highlighted that elements of the proposed policy relating to the COVID-19 transitional amendment for RePL training courses should be moved from 31 January 2021 to coincide with the respective state or territories first school term of 2021 to allow students to complete their RePL courses at school.

Some respondents advised that some elements of the proposed amendments were unclear, including the removal of the requirement for excluded category operators to notify CASA, registration requirements for modified drones and how this applies to modified drones used for research and development, and that the proposed 18-month extension for RePL training instructors to obtain the relevant qualifications is too long.

Other responses included specific feedback on RePL training course syllabi, the use of registration marks for drones registered in Australia and foreign registered drones operating in Australia.

We did

In response to the consultation, we will extend the transitional amendment to allow any student who commenced a RePL course on or after 3 April 2020, but before 10 October 2020, to complete the course and its examinations and assessments under the relevant syllabi by 30 April 2021. This extension will allow those students and training organisations impacted by COVID-19 to complete their RePL courses during the first term of the 2021 school year. Any course commenced on, or from, 10 October 2020 must be completed against the new syllabi.

We will retain the proposed 18-month extension for RePL training course instructors to 10 April 2022 for Part 101 MOS paragraph 2.30 (2) (c) in Division 2.7. While we recognise some training instructors were able to obtain their qualifications, COVID-19 has had different impacts around Australia and the additional time will provide further support for all training instructors and organisations.

By incorporating the excluded category notification into the RPA registration process, CASA aims to reduce red-tape by simplifying the notification requirements. Combined with the requirement to register the RPA, the requirement for excluded category operators to obtain RPA operator accreditation before they fly will provide data about who is operating an excluded RPA. CASA does not believe the oversight of these operations will be diminished by simplifying the notification requirements.

CASA will consider all feedback as part of a post-implementation review.

Published responses

View submitted responses where consent has been given to publish the response.

Overview

CASA is seeking feedback on the proposed changes to the rules for drones, also known as remotely piloted aircraft, including details on:

  • the registration and accreditation scheme
  • COVID pandemic relief
    • transitional provisions for remote pilot licences (RePL)
    • an extension to the commencement of RePL training instructor requirements

The proposal amends the Part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS).

Registration and accreditation

The amendments detail requirements to support the registration and accreditation scheme for:

  • the operation of foreign-registered drones under a permission in Australian territory
  • the proper conduct of online examinations (accreditation)
  • registration holders to display CASA-generated registration marks (legibly at all times)
  • the acceptable modification of registered drones and criteria when any modified drone must be re-registered
  • reducing red tape by replacing the requirement for excluded category notifications with registration.

COVID pandemic relief

In April 2020, CASA made an urgent amendment to the Part 101 MOS to extend the date that training organisations were required to transition to the new training syllabi and the MOS requirements. This six-month extension, from 10 April 2020 to 10 October 2020, was provided due to the impact of COVID-19 on the RPAS industry and the training organisation’s ability to meet the transition requirements.

CASA is proposing additional relief in the form of a transitional amendment to Chapter 2 of the Part 101 MOS in relation to RePL training courses.

The first proposed transitional provision will provide that any student who commenced a RePL course on or after 3 April 2020, but before 10 October 2020, will have until 31 January 2021 to fully complete all aspects of the course and its examinations and assessments, under the relevant syllabi, as is in force before 10 October 2020. Any course commenced on or from 10 October 2020 must be completed against the new relevant syllabi.

As a further COVID-19 measure, CASA is proposing to extend the effective date for Part 101 MOS paragraph 2.30 (2) (c) in Division 2.7 RePL training course instructors. This extension will provide RePL training instructors an additional 18 months, to the start of 10 April 2022, to obtain instructor qualifications (in addition to the existing technical and licence requirements) which have been difficult to obtain in the uncertain COVID-19 environment.

Consequential amendments and Guidance material

Amendment to RPAS Advisory Circulars may be required. A holistic review of RPAS guidance material is scheduled to be conducted and amended according to priority.                                                                                          

Previous and ongoing consultations

In response to recommendations made by the Senate Rural and Regional Affairs and Transport Committee, in July 2019, the Government passed the Civil Aviation Safety Amendment (Remotely Piloted Aircraft and Model Aircraft - Registration and Accreditation) Regulation 2019 legislation, to introduce an RPA and model aircraft registration and operator accreditation scheme.

Between 25 January and 22 February 2019, CASA consulted on this proposal, receiving 4, 236 online submissions.

Consultation on the proposed charges for drones, also known as remotely piloted aircraft, regulatory services, opened on 25 August 2020 and will close 13 September 2020. The proposed charges include an initial fee-free registration period for commercial drones or RPA registered before 30 June 2021, and the introduction of a simplified fee structure for other drone or RPA services. 

CASA has also previously consulted with the community on drone registration and accreditation.

In November 2018, a group of drone industry experts met to consider drone registration and accreditation. This technical working group, made up of industry representatives, was established by the Aviation Safety Advisory Panel (ASAP) to direct our engagement with industry and seek input on regulatory and associated policy approaches. The group strongly supported the introduction of a scheme. However, there were some concerns expressed about the impact on some model aircraft owners and operators.

In August/September 2017, CASA published a drone discussion paper. The majority of respondents also supported some form of registration, training or proficiency when the weight of the drone was taken into account.

Why we are consulting

CASA recognises the valuable contribution community and industry consultations make to the policy decision-making process and future regulatory change. We are seeking your feedback to ensure that the proposed amendments are clearly articulated and will work in practice and as they are intended. Please take this opportunity to provide your views on the proposed amendment.  

Documents for review

All documents related to this consultation are attached in the ‘related’ section at the bottom of the page. They are:

  • Summary of proposed change on CD 2014US, which provides background on the proposed standards
  • Exposure Draft Part 101 MOS proposed amendments
  • MS Word copy of online consultation for ease of distribution and feedback within your organisation. 

What happens next

At the end of the response period for public comment, we will review each comment and submission received. We will make all submissions publicly available on the CASA website, unless you request your submission remain confidential. We will also publish a Summary of Consultation which summarises the feedback received.

Information about how we consult and how to make a confidential submission is available on the CASA website

To be notified of any future consultations, you can subscribe to our consultation and rulemaking mailing list. 

Audiences

  • CASA Staff
  • Drone operator
  • Drone training organisation

Interests

  • Drones / unmanned aircraft systems
  • Sport and recreational aviation