Remote Pilot Licence or UAV Controller Certificate Options


In order to fly a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) aka Drone / UAV legally in Australia for commercial purpose or gain you will need to obtain certification from CASA. There are 2 options available and depending upon your experience or future ambitions the UAV Controller Certificate (UAV CC) may be your best option. If you only want to fly a RPA and never want to fly a real aircraft as a pilot then Option 1 – Remote Pilot Certificate (RPC) may be your best option.

The only real difference between the 2 is that the UAV CC requires you to pass an official CASA Private Pilot Licence exam at an ASL examination centre in Australia. If you choose to take the RPC option you will need to still study topics in the PPL Day VFR syllabus but the difference is that it is COMPETENCY based and you do not have to sit an official CASA PPL Exam.

Remote Pilot Certificate Course - RPC Course - CASA Certified

Aviation Reference Number

Prior to making any application with CASA, you will be required to obtain an Aviation Reference Number (ARN). This is CASA’s system of maintaining and tracking all correspondence related to you and your operation. This links to CASA form 1162

CASA Remote Pilot / UAV Controller Qualifications

To fly a Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) /Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) for commercial work either a Remote Pilot Certificate or a UAV Controllers Certificate is required. These certificates apply to the individual who would be employed by a UAV Operator Certificate holder for commercial work operations.

The Remote Pilot Certificate and the UAV Controller Certificate.

The RPC and the UAV CC both require the following:

The difference between these can be explained as follows:

  • UAV CC :
    • You need to pass a Private Pilot Licence (PPL) theory exam.
    • You can complete each of the requirements such as the MA, ELP, AROC with different vendors
    • When you send all of these individually obtained results to CASA you will be issued with a UAV CC
  • RPC :
    • This is an integrated course that covers all the same topics but by the single training school.
    • The PPL Theory in this course is replaced by the syllabus of the training school which by the way covers most of the same topics as the PPL just more focused on the RPAS environment and therefor a little easier.
    • This is competency based so you do not have to sit an official PPL Theory exam.
    • If you do not already hold a ROC you will have to sit a ELP exam at an ASL location before you attend a RPC course or do it afterwards but your RPC will not be issued until you have passed the ELP. (Hopefully this will change in the future but this is how it is at the moment)

The two options available to obtain a certificate to fly a RPA / UAV are as follows:

OPTION 1 – Remote Pilot Certificate

The RPC option enables people with no aviation experience and no intention of flying manned aircraft in the future the option of gaining a Certificate that is focused entirely on the operation of a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS). RPAS falls under the umbrella of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

We provide the Basic RPAS training course with 2 main options. You can either complete a 5-day full time course in a classroom which consists of about 3 days theory and 2 days practical assessments.

This course is competency based and comprises a combination of theory and practical training. Upon successful completion of the course we will apply to CASA on your behalf for a Remote Pilot Certificate and you should receive it within a few days.

You can read more about our Remote Pilot Certificate courses on this page.

OPTION 2 – UAV Controllers Certificate

In order to obtain a UAV Controllers Certificate you need to complete the following CASA requirements. If you already have an ARN and have passed a PPL or CPL exam you only need to obtain the Manfacturers training and 5 hours on type to get your UAV CC :

  1. Aircraft Radio Operators Certificate of Proficiency (AROCoP);
  2. Pass an English Language Proficiency test at an ASL examination centre in Australia (Yes, the powers to be have decided that even though you have completed school in English you need to be tested before they will issue you with an AROCP)
  3. Pass in an aviation licence theory exam – ie Private Pilot Licence (PPL) theory for either Aeroplane OR Helicopter
  4. Instrument Rating Exam(IREX) pass OR an exemption from CASA;
  5. Manufacturers type training of a UAV platform; and
  6. 5 hours of flight time on the UAV platform for which the type training was received.

Please read more about our UAV Controller Certificate courses on this page.

Please note: Once you have an RPC or a UAV CC you still have to fly for a company that holds a valid UAV Operator Certificate issued by CASA