Proposed Part 101 standards and guide for authorised beyond visual line of sight, outside of controlled airspace operations (CD 2216US)

Closed 17 Jan 2023

Opened 7 Dec 2022

Overview

We would like your feedback on the proposed aeronautical knowledge standards and associated guide supporting an examination to authorise beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) operations, outside of controlled airspace (OCTA).

This is an alternative to the current requirement to pass the instrument rating exam (IREX) – an exam originally designed for crewed aviation.

The proposed BVLOS OCTA exam would:

  • act as an alternative pathway from the IREX for BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace
  • be the first step in a broader BVLOS licensing framework.

This exam is part of a larger body of work to future proof the Australian remotely piloted aviation industry, as outlined in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Strategic Regulatory Roadmap.

The proposed new standards

The proposed release of the BVLOS OCTA aeronautical knowledge standards and guide, which will be incorporated later into the Part 101 Manual of Standards, will provide easier access to tailored industry training courses specific to BVLOS.

To enable industry access to the proposed BVLOS OCTA exam sooner, we propose to finalise the BVLOS OCTA aeronautical knowledge standards and guide and make the documents formally available after review and relevant amendment, following public consultation feedback. The standards, guide and the exam would be supported by an instrument made for subparagraph 101.300 (4) (a) (iii) of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR), before the standards are incorporated into the Part 101 Manual of Standards (MOS) in the future.

A pass in the theoretical exam would provide a person with a BVLOS OCTA pass (a pass credit), which would permit them to operate in compliance with a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) holders’ procedures and conduct BVLOS operations OCTA. The ReOC holder must hold an approval to operate BVLOS under regulation 101.029 of CASR.

Principal changes that would occur

Once the standards and guide are published:

  • training organisations will be able to create training programs to develop candidate knowledge to a level that will prepare the candidate to pass the exam
  • candidates who wish to self-study can use the aeronautical knowledge standards
  • the exam will be available through the existing Pilot Examination Office (PEXO) system already in use across Australia
  • they will become part of a larger integrated RePL framework as proposed in the CASA RPAS and AAM strategic roadmap.

More Information

Between 15 December 2021 and 21 February 2022, we sought feedback on proposed amendments to the drone rules which were meant to simplify the BVLOS approval process.

We further consulted on the need for an alternative pathway from the IREX through the ‘CASA RPAS and AAM strategic roadmap’ Technical Working Group (TWG). This group consisted of representatives from CASA and the RPAS industry and the outcomes informed and guided work on the BVLOS examination project. We publicly consulted on the CASA RPAS and AAM strategic roadmap from 8 March to 19 April 2022.

Prior to the release of the proposed BVLOS exam documents for public consultation, we consulted on the draft BVLOS aeronautical knowledge standards with a working group from within the RPAS industry. Feedback was incorporated and the working group were supportive of the content and approach.

We also receive ongoing feedback on drone-related issues and pain points from operators, industry bodies and the public. This feedback is collated and reviewed by subject matter experts and forms part of our consultative, policy development and regulatory review process.

Why your views matter

We recognise the valuable contribution community and industry consultations make to the policy decision-making process and future regulatory change. We are consulting to ensure that the proposed policies are clearly articulated, will work in practice, meet industry’s needs and identify any unforeseen consequences or impact.

We welcome comments from every sector of the community. This includes the public, government agencies and all sectors of the aviation industry, whether as an aviator, aviation consumer and/or provider of related products and services.

Documents for review

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

  • Summary of proposed change on CD 2216US – background on the proposed standards
  • BVLOS OCTA aeronautical knowledge standards
  • BVLOS OCTA aeronautical knowledge guide
  • MS Word copy of online consultation for ease of distribution and feedback within your organisation.

Please submit your Comments on the CD2216US through the Consultation Hub using the survey provided. If you are unable to provide feedback this way, please contact us for advice through regulatoryconsultation@casa.gov.au

What happens next

At the end of the response period, 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 and outlines next steps.

Relevant feedback that identifies divergences from the agreed policies will be considered and changes made as required to ensure an outcome that accurately embodies the agreed policies.

We aim to roll out the proposed examination available through the current PEXO system in the first half of 2023. The feedback we receive from this consultation will also assist us in developing implementation and transition timeframes.

Post-implementation review

CASA will monitor exam results during the initial rollout phase and on an ongoing basis. We will also continue work as described in the RPAS and AAM strategic roadmap on further proposed changes to the Part 101 of CASR regulations and MOS to support uncrewed aircraft operations.

Audiences

  • CASA Staff
  • Drone training organisation
  • Holder of RPAS remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC)
  • Holder of RPAS and remote pilot licence (RePL)
  • Drone manufacturers
  • Drone repairers
  • Commercial drone operator
  • Recreational drone flyer
  • Model aircraft enthusiast
  • Training organisation representative
  • School/educational institution
  • Part 61 of CASR Pilots
  • Emergency services provider/operator
  • Farmer/ agriculture/operate over your own land

Interests

  • Drones/uncrewed aircraft systems
  • Airspace and infrastructure
  • Licensing
  • First person view (FPV)
  • Agriculture
  • Owner of drones and/or model aircraft