CASA Drone Spraying Licencing Requirements
The vast majority of spray drone operations will require both the pilot and the business (either as an individual person or a business) to be licenced via CASA.
These licences are the remote pilot licence (RePL) and the remotely piloted aircraft operators certificate (ReOC) . Many training providers will also provide a service to help you obtain your ReOC, however, you can complete the required forms and documents yourself and apply directly to CASA or via an approved industry delegate.
Steps to meet CASA requirements.
1. Obtain your ARN
Get an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) from CASA what is an ARN? It’s like a drivers licence number for pilots and drone pilots. Start the process on the CASA webpage CASA Instruction video showing how to obtain your ARN.
2. Obtain your 0-7kg RePL (this is the basic drone licence).
Simply get a regular 0-7kg RePL- Remote Pilot Licence. You can just fly a small drone such as a DJI Mavic or the provided drone from the training organisation for this licence course.
RePL is normally a five-day course – three theory and two practical (flying). Some training companies offer the three theory days as online work from home. For Western Australian Pilots we recommend Perth’s leading drone training organisation. Global Drone Solutions.
Global Drone Solutions include in their course AROC (Aeronautical Radio Operator Certificate) An AROC is a short course that shows you how to communicate using a VHF radio with others who are using the air space such as Area Centres (Perth Centre 135.25) Icom ICA16E is the preferred certified aviation radio and can be purchased from Drone Shop Perth
3. Obtain a 25kg license upgrade
This license ‘upgrade’ brings your REPL rating up to the 25kg drone category.
4. Drone type endorsement (Agriculture Medium Size)
Flying a 25-150 kg drone over your own land for business or as part of your job, this is called (by CASA) the ‘landowner’ or ‘private landholder excluded’ category.
The T30 for example weighs 76.5 kg when fully loaded.
If you are using your own Agriculture drone register your Agriculture spraying drone with CASA After receiving your RePL. Following is the myCASA page to register your drone. Licencing for medium-sized drones from 25kg – 150kg currently needs to be completed by CASA directly at this stage and is aircraft based rather than weight. For example, if you operate both the DJI Agras T20 & the T30, you will need to be certified on each craft.
Request a CASA inspector to observe you flying (a ‘flight test’)
This involves a CASA inspector observing you flying your agriculture spray drone and checking that you are able to fly it safely. CASA charges $160.0/hr (rates are at 2022) and would normally be on your property (or another property that you may prefer) for about 1.5 hrs + travel time. Regarding travel time, CASA will not disadvantage clients for CASA not having staff in a particular region. They only charge travel time from either the nearest CASA office or the nearest regional office.
Chemicals licence/s consideration
State Based Pesticide Application Regulations Chemical application regulations and statutory obligations are handled by each state and territory individually. While this may seem cumbersome, the states have come together to form an RPAS Working Group. Hopefully in the future we will see a more streamlined approach Chemical Handling Training Requirements All states require operators to undertake some type of chemical handling training and the units of competency required vary from state to state.
For Example Drone spraying in Western Australia is handled by the Department of Agriculture and Regional Development.
Note that a pilot is not allowed to discharge pesticide from an aircraft within 150 metres of a dwelling, school, factory or any other public place without the prior written permission of the occupier of the premises.
Roads, travelling stock reserves and State Rail land are excluded from the definition of public places.
The owner of the land on which the pesticide will aerially be applied must get the written permission of the occupier of the dwelling, school, factory or other public place that is within 150 metres of the application area.
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