UPDATE - 26-AUG-2014
Full RPAS Multicopter License Course!Yes - We are proud to announce that we will be commencing our RPAS courses starting in October. Information can be found here RPAS LICENCE TRAINING
Clearing up the Myth about RPAS Certification.
So we are getting a fair few phone calls from people whom are getting very confused about where they can get an RPA License. Right now, there is a limited number of certified training schools that can offer you this license. The following link will give you a list of Certified RPAS Operators - ONLY A CERTIFIED OPERATOR CAN OFFER YOU AN RPAS LICENSE.
So with everyday that goes by we seem to field more and more calls about becoming licensed and certified to be able to fly a Multi-Copter commercially, and when speaking to people, there seems to be a lot of misinformation out there, so I thought it time to clear things up a little for those that want to know.
Let's start at the basics....
For anyone wanting to fly a copter for anything other than hobby or sport (commercial work) you need a few things... but basically, the guy flying it needs a Controller Certificate or RPAS License, and then he, or someone he is flying under the control of, needs to have an Operators Certificate.
Let's start with the RPAS License. There is some confusion that you need pass the Private Pilot's License (PPL) exam to obtain an RPAS license. Well, that is not true. It's not a requirement of CASA to do this. Currently there are a couple of organisations that you can go to and sit an RPAS dedicated course. WE ARE NOW OFFERING THIS COURSE - CLICK HERE. It means you sit down for a week, and be trained on everything RPAS related. You will also need to obtain a Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency. This is an easy get and is normally a 1 day thing to make sure you can adequately operate a 2-way radio. Once you have completed the above you can apply to CASA for an RPAS Licence. There are a few other minor hoops to jump through, but that's about the strength of.
OR... you can go to an aviation school and study the PPL. Heck, you can self study the PPL if you want, but 97% of it is not relevant to flying a UAV, let alone a Multi. In fact, you probably won't even learn a single thing about UAVs because the PPL is designed with full scale aircraft in mind. It's a complete waste of time for this industry. SO....
YOU DON'T NEED TO DO PPL. This is only required if you DON'T want to go to an PRAS Training centre and get an RPAS license.
The OC... on the other hand, is a little more involved. It requires a fair bit of paperwork, nominating a Chief Controller, proving you can fly, and a bunch of manuals including Operations Manuals, Risk Management, etc etc. You know how it is right! You will need to gain Manufacturer Training on the particular aircraft you nominate to fly in your OC. Once you have your OC, if you want to add aircraft to it, you will need to submit this change to CASA. The OC does not give you blanket rule over all Multis. You will also need to prove to CASA that you can fly the machines you have nominated etc.
SO... Don't let anyone tell you have to do the PPL. There are quite a few Aviation Schools jumping on the RPAS explosion and convincing people they need a PPL, just so they can enroll them into one of their courses.
Not anyone can train you for an RPAS License. There are a number of requirements from the trainer and the training centre. Firstly, the training centre must hold a current OC. Secondly the trainer must have considerable experience in the RPAS industry. This does not include pilots that fly full scale aircraft. It must be RPAS related. Only those training centres recognised by CASA are allowed to deliver an RPAS License course. Anyone else will just be offering you tutoring to sit the PPL, which as mentioned before, is not relevant. To put it into perspective, it would be like being trained on how to drive PnO's flagship cruise liner, when all you want to do is go fishing in the river in your tinnie!!
I am happy to answer any questions anyone has on the processes involved etc. I would rather people have the facts at hand than be shown a path that is for someone else's convenience.