What is BVLOS

April 8

Drone technology is evolving to offer new efficiencies and cost savings.

One of the most useful developments is the ability to operate drones at long distances and Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS).

Flying a drone outside of your line of sight allows pilots to collect more data with every flight. It also simplifies the process of performing tasks such as mapping, surveying and asset inspections over large areas.

Expanding your skills to include BVLOS missions is an excellent way to grow your service skills, reduce business expenses and provide a better product to your clients. In this article, we’ll discuss what BVLOS is, how to obtain your rating, and some of the opportunities available to pilots with a BVLOS rating.


BVLOS – What is it?

Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (BVLOS) is a type of drone operation where a pilot controls a drone that’s outside of their direct line of sight.

Under CASA’s Standard Operating Conditions, drone pilots are only allowed to operate a drone within their direct line of sight. Flying beyond visual line of sight poses additional risk to pilots, bystanders, structures and other aircraft. As such, these types of missions are restricted to pilots who hold a BVLOS rating.

BVLOS missions allow pilots to conduct missions such as:

  • Flying long-distance drones for forestry, agriculture, mapping, surveying and inspection purposes
  • Flying drones in built up areas where buildings will obscure line of sight
  • Flying drones over large areas that would be difficult to access by foot

Holding a BVLOS rating is a major advantage for pilots in industries such as agriculture, mining, infrastructure, power generation, surveying and emergency response.


Unlocking New Opportunities With BVLOS

Modern drones fly further than ever. The ability to fly long distances, allows pilots to collect more information in less time. That’s a major opportunity for service providers and clients alike!

Until recently, Australia’s regulations were the limiting factor on conducting BVLOS missions. However, with CASA’s new BVLOS rating exam, flying drones beyond visual line of sight has become more accessible.

Providing BVLOS services means pilots can cover greater areas in less time, improving the cost-effectiveness and efficiency of every mission.

BVLOS is also key to the rise of automation in the drone industry. As drones become more capable of conducting autonomous flights (particularly for routine operations like asset inspections or goods deliveries), operating BVLOS further improves the efficiency of each flight.


How to Obtain Your BVLOS Rating

To obtain a BVLOS rating, you are required to pass the BVLOS exam. This exam is intended for pilots who hold a drone licence and want to fly BVLOS outside of controlled airspace (OCTA).

The BVLOS exam tests your skills and knowledge in operating drones, BVLOS missions, human factors in BVLOS operations, RPA instruments and equipment, and more.

The best way to prepare for the BVLOS exam is to undertake a BVLOS training course. An accredited course guides you through the information and skills you need to pass the exam, including:

  • General BVLOS operations information
  • Limitations of the BVLOS rating
  • Drone instruments and equipment
  • Meteorology
  • Navigation with GNSS
  • Human factors in BVLOS missions
  • Mission planning examples
  • Specific Operation Risk Assessment (SORA)
  • Control systems for long range missions
  • Operations inside and outside of controlled airspace

Once you’ve completed BVLOS training, you can book an exam date with CASA.


The Difference Between BVLOS and EVLOS

Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) and Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS) are two categories of drone operations. Both allow pilots to fly a drone outside of their direct line of sight.

The main difference between the two is that EVLOS requires “observers” to be within 1,500 metres of the drone at all times. This means each mission requires additional staff, which increases cost and complexity. The trade off is that EVLOS missions are quicker to deploy and are subject to fewer regulatory requirements.

It’s a good idea for drone service providers to offer both EVLOS and BVLOS operations. Each mission type has its own advantages, and holding both ratings is the best way to maximise your service offering.


Grow Your Career With BVLOS Training from Toll Uncrewed Systems!

New developments in the drone industry are making it important to continually build your skills. CASA’s updated BVLOS regulations are a huge opportunity for drone pilots and service providers alike.

If it’s time to expand your skills, Toll Uncrewed Systems offers BVLOS training that can take your career to new heights!

Our BVLOS training course is conducted over 2 days. It provides the skills and knowledge you need to pass the BVLOS OCTA exam and upgrade your drone licence.

You can learn more about our BVLOS training online, or enrol in our next course date if you’re ready to grow your career potential.

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