“As a video producer, it's reassuring to know that our aerial team are professional, reliable, safe, and genuinely nice guys to have on set.”
- Ben Fleming, Director, Colorblind Films
This course includes the standard CASA course that will give you
It includes a Flight Test, a RePL exam, an AROC exam and practical flight instruction.
This conversion is for holders of any of the above pilot’s licenses who want to fly drones. It operates on a 1 on 1 basis and can be undertaken at any time by appointment with Above Oz. The conversion gives you a Remote Pilot License (RePL).
This course includes a modified and condensed version of the Remote Pilot Course where you learn about Charts, Air Law, Risk Management, Drone Knowledge and much more. However, the subject matter focuses on the “very small” category of excluded drones(under 2kg). It is important to note that this course will not get you a license from CASA. It is aimed at people who want to fly unlicensed for commercial gain using drones lighter than 2kg, such as the dji Mavic or Phantom. While you will not need a license to fly these drones, you still need a solid knowledge of the regulations to avoid substantial fines. CASA highly recommend doing a course such as this as ignorance of the law is no excuse in aviation. The course is popular with companies who see the need for OH&S or “duty of care” responsibilities to be fulfilled for their staff who wish to fly commercially.
Many industries have quite specific requirements beyond the standard RePL, or individual pilots may feel the need for further flight training. Perhaps there is a desire to understand camera operation at a level above “full auto”. All of these, and more, can lead to the development of bespoke training of anywhere from a couple of hours to a multi-day course. We also offer consultation services for policy and procedure development.
Beyond VLOS legislation is a developing area of interest and Above Oz are working with aviation experts to assist Operators to incorporate this function into their operations
If you have been considering studying for your Remote Pilot License, you will know that on receiving your license, you will need to either get a ReOC from CASA, or fly for someone who has one. There is no course involved in obtaining a ReOC, you deal directly with either CASA, or a CASA Delegate for this. While we are not CASA delegates, we do offer free guidance and assistance if required to help our students through this process, and recommend a suitable Delegate. Cost for students wanting to get a ReOC is normally between $1,000 and $1,200, payable to either CASA or the Delegate.
There is not much difference in practice between all of these terms. The general public generally use the term drone. A UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) is a slightly older term that was favored by the industry, but is now legally obsolete. CASA and the global industry are transitioning to the term RPA (Remotely Piloted Aircraft) as it more accurately describes the fact that there is a pilot somewhere controlling the aircraft. The term RPAS, (Remotely Piloted Aircraft System) describes the aircraft and includes the ground based remote control system as well. We will use the term drone in this FAQ because it is the most familiar term for people new to the industry.
Yes, under certain limitations:
All drone pilots must obey the SOC unless they have a permission or license to do otherwise.
CASA is the Civil Aviation Safety Authority. This is the federal government body with responsibility for the safety of civilian aircraft in Australia. They make and police the rules that you will need to follow. They issue all the Certificates you will need for commercial flying and can also take Certificates away or issue very large fines.
There are two types of qualification in the drone industry. The pilot must be licensed (just like a Qantas pilot for example) and the organisation he/she flies for must be licensed (like Qantas itself). An individual person can be both a pilot and a licensed organisation.
You can also fly commercially without a license, but only with drones under 2kg. There are many restrictions involved. See SOC above.
Above Oz is authorized to teach and examine candidates for a Remote Pilot License. Students who pass this course are then recommended to CASA for the granting of a Remote Pilot License. This is normally just a formality, but is subject to identity confirmation and other verification checks.
The Remote Pilot Course follows a syllabus created by CASA. Areas covered include aerodynamics, multi rotor flight, navigation, air law, meteorology, risk, and RPA Knowledge. Above Oz also supplies the PLUS module which covers a range of non-CASA topics, such as privacy issues; insurance; dealing with councils, landholders & the public; and aerial cinematography. The PLUS module is not a part of the course and is not examined.
It is also a course in practical, safe flying. It is not essential to have any flying experience before starting, but it will be an advantage if you do have even some limited flying hours, as it’s a requirement to have 5 hours of experience to be granted a license. Alternatively, it is possible to do the course first and build up your hours at your own pace after completing the course. However, this may require you to return at a later date to do your flight test.
The course is appropriate for pilots who wish to undertake any type of professional work with a drone, such as photography, mapping, surveillance, research, environmental, inspection, emergency services, etc.
There is a multi-choice examination at the end of the course. There is also a flight test to examine your safe flying ability.
This course is for Multi Rotor drones up to 25kg. However, if you intend to fly a drone exceeding 7kg, contact us to discuss the flight test procedure.
The course also includes tuition in Air Radio operation, which is then examined separately. Passing this exam will give you an Air Radio Operator’s Certificate (AROC). There are also some other requirements that must be satisfied regarding your ability to speak the English language to a suitable level.
The cost for the course is $3,500 + GST, and runs for 5 days
This cost includes:
All materials are supplied in advance of the course dates students are strongly encouraged to study the workbooks prior to the course as much as possible.
Payment is required before commencement of the course and your position in the course is not guaranteed until full payment has been made. For example, if maximum numbers are reached with fully paid students then you will need to wait until the next course.
Due to small class numbers, withdrawal from, or postponement of our courses with a refund or transfer of course fee, is at the discretion of Above Oz. Individual circumstances and the timing of request will be considered when making this decision.
Above Oz premises are at 26 Clarke Street, Norwood, South Australia, and most courses will be run at our office with flight training and testing carried out at other suitable venues. This may vary from time to time depending on availability.
Above Oz is a sister organization to Picture Hire Australia. Picture Hire Australia is a service company providing cameras and production equipment to the film and television industry. Our aerial activities grew from demand from clients to provide aerial solutions for many production activities including TV programs, TV ads, corporate videos, weddings, real estate and many other types of work. Picture Hire Australia has been in operation for over a decade and is recognized as the leader in its category in South Australia. Both Businesses are owned by Dai and Dagmar Cookes.
Over time, Above Oz’s original focus on the film
and television industries has diversified dramatically to include Emergency Services, Asset Management, Farmers, Scientists, Government, Real Estate, Surveyors and much more. The RePL is the only pathway into professional activities in all industries.
Above Oz holds an RPA Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) with training certification, and all lecturers hold a minimum of a Remote Pilot License (RePL). Lecturers are drawn from both the film and manned aviation industries. Dai Cookes is the Chief Pilot and Chief Instructor for Above Oz.
As a licensed drone pilot, a network of friends and associates in the industry will help you become comfortable with the world of aviation, and our staff can be the beginning of that. Naturally, with years of experience in the film world, we are very aware of the ethical issues of not “stealing” clients, and indeed we have become a major source of work for our clients.
Be aware that this course does not give you a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate (ReOC). To fly drones larger than 2kg commercially you will need to find a ReOC holder to fly for, or obtain a ReOC yourself. This will cost you around $1,100 – $1,200. There is no course for this, just an application based on a template provided by CASA. ReOCs are available either direct from CASA or from CASA delegates. Talk to Above Oz and we can assist you with this process and recommend a Delegate if required.
You should also arrange Aviation Public Liability insurance to cover your flying activities.
There are many advantages to having a Remote Pilot License. Here are some:
You will need to:
We will assist you in satisfying these requirements.
Not if you put some effort in. If you are motivated to become qualified, and pay attention in the classes, you should pass the courses. The course is designed to help you get a qualification. We would expect almost every student to pass, and we will assist you in any way we can to achieve your goals. If you do not pass an exam or flight test at the first attempt, you can attempt to pass at a later date, at no additional cost, at an individually arranged time. Although there are some mathematical formulae presented in the course material, this is really just for the reference of the mathematically minded. There are no exam questions that rely on any mathematical skills.
You should note that while the course is fairly straight forward, most students come to this course with little or no background in aviation. This means that students most get used to many new terms and concepts in a relatively short time, so it is vital that students concentrate and ensure that they understand all of the material presented in the workbooks and during class time. Asking questions during class is strongly encouraged to help this process.
As we are bound by law to only pass people who are deemed safe, we cannot guarantee everyone will gain the qualification. However, our aim is a 100% pass record.
This is a new and rapidly changing industry, so predicting employment opportunities is realistically impossible. We would warn that competition for work is likely to be high. However, with the right personal skills and motivation, it could lead to an exciting and interesting job, especially if combined with other existing skills such as agriculture, mining, photography, surveying etc etc. The only thing that can be guaranteed is that you will find it very difficult to develop a professional career in remote flying without this qualification.