Commercial Drone Licence Requirements in Australia

May 22

Australia’s drone industry is governed by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA)

CASA ensures that operators and service providers are maintaining suitable standards by requiring commercial drone pilots to hold a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL).

Obtaining an RePL is the first step along your career path to becoming a commercial drone pilot. The process is straightforward, involving a mixture of practical and theory-based training.

Once you have an RePL, you are qualified to fly a broad range of drone missions for payment and for commercial purposes.

In this article, we’ll learn more about commercial drone licences in Australia, as well as their requirements, when you need to hold a licence, and more.


What is a Commercial Drone Licence?

A commercial drone licence is called a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) in Australia.

You can earn an RePL by undertaking a training program with a provider such as Toll Uncrewed Systems. Training courses offer a blend of theoretical and practical learning, providing the skills and knowledge you need to fly drones on a commercial basis.

Remote Pilot Licences are divided into four weight categories:

  • Less than 7kg
  • Less than 25kg
  • Less than 150kg
  • More than 150kg

There are no minimum age or fitness requirements to hold an RePL. However, it should be noted that most drone training programs are designed for people aged 16 and up.



When Do You Need a Commercial Drone Licence?

You need to hold a commercial drone licence if you want to:

  • Operate a drone on behalf of an individual or business that holds a Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC)
  • Operate a drone weighing between 25kg-150kg over your own land
  • Operate a drone outside CASA’s standard operating conditions

You don’t need to hold a commercial drone licence if you want to:

  • Fly for fun or recreation
  • Operate a micro RPA weighing 250g or less

Operate an excluded category drone within CASA’s standard operating conditions


Excluded Category Drones

You can fly an excluded category drone for payment or commercial purposes without an RePL. If you don’t hold an RePL, you are required to operate your drone within CASA’s standard operating conditions.

There are two types of excluded category drones that can be flown for commercial purposes without a licence:

  • Drones weighing more than 250g but less than 2kg
  • Drones weighing more than 2kg but less than 25kg (when flown over your own land)

Some pilots – such as real estate photographers – don’t need an RePL to provide commercial drone services. While you technically may not need an RePL, holding your commercial licence gives you greater flexibility over when and where you can fly your drone.


RPA Operator Accreditation

If you don’t hold an RePL, and you intend to fly a micro RPA or an excluded category drone for business or as part of your job, you must apply for Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Operator Accreditation.

RPA Operator Accreditation:

  • Is free
  • Can be done online
  • Remains valid for 3 years

You can apply for RPA Operator Accreditation if you are at least 16 years old. If you are under 18, you must be supervised by an accredited adult (over 18) while operating a drone.

This is a simple and affordable alternative for operators that fly very small drones. If you hold an RPA Operator Accreditation, you’re required to comply with CASA’s standard operating conditions.


Earning Your RePL

Earning your RePL is a straightforward process. You need to:

  • Apply for an Aviation Reference Number (ARN): You’ll need to apply for an ARN through CASA’s online portal. Getting an ARN is free.

  • Undertake an accredited training program: The majority of your training is conducted by a certified training provider, such as Toll Uncrewed Systems. Our drone courses provide theoretical training as well as hands-on experience with commercial-grade drone platforms.

  • Pass the drone theory exam: Once you have finished your training, you’ll need to pass a drone theory exam. The exam is conducted by your training provider.

  • Pass the practical skills exam: Finally, you need to demonstrate your practical skills. The practical exam varies depending on the type and category of drones you intend to fly.

Once you successfully complete your RePL course, your training organisation can issue an RePL on behalf of CASA. Earning your RePL through an accredited training provider is much faster than applying directly to CASA.



Upgrading Your RePL

You may need to upgrade your RePL if you want to:

You can upgrade your RePL through an accredited training provider. You’ll need to pass theoretical and practical skills assessments for the type and category of RPA you intend to fly.


Earn Your Commercial Drone Licence With Toll Uncrewed Systems!

A commercial drone licence is a basic requirement for most professional drone pilots. While there are exceptions, earning your licence provides greater flexibility over when, where and how you operate your drone.

Toll Uncrewed Systems provides a comprehensive RePL training program! If you’re ready to take your career to new heights, our courses provide the theoretical and practical training you need to earn your licence or upgrade your RePL.

Our courses include a minimum of 5 hours of hands-on flight time with industry-standard drone platforms. We provide access to real-world drones, which helps to prepare you for your role in the drone industry.

You can browse our drone training courses online, or contact us and we can design a program that helps you achieve your career goals!


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UAV Training Australia and Advanced Aerial Solutions have merged as Toll Uncrewed Systems