5 questions every drone pilot should ask about training

Updated March 2017

Australia’s UAV industry is growing at a rapid rate. With the number of Operator Certificates issued by CASA almost doubling in number each year. As a result the number of training companies offering CASA approved certification is growing as well. So how do you select the right training organisation for you? Here are five important questions to ask any potential training company to ensure that your RPAS Certification or (RePL) gives you the best start possible.

1. Is your company a Registered Training Organisation (RTO)?

As crazy as it sounds not all RPAS Certification companies, in fact very few are RTO’s. This means that all a company needs to start training you is an Operators Certificate and approval by CASA. What they may not have are qualifications and skills as a trainer, continuous independent auditing to ensure compliance and evidence that they are employing best practice techniques to ensure you are learning to fly drones in the best environment possible.

Because UAVAIR is a Registered Training Organisation we continually seek to improve our training, we are regularly audited by both the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and the Australian Skills Quality Authority (ASQA). All of our trainers possess a Certificate IV in Training and Assessment as well as being professional operators in the industry.

2. Is everything included in the course?

Being fully qualified to fly drones commercially requires a number of steps and some drone training companies get around the time and cost of this by requiring you to complete and pay for a number of steps yourself. This includes completing the Aeronautical Radio Operators Certificate (AROC), the CASA Licensing Fee and the Basic Aeronautical Knowledge test (BAK).

At UAVAIR we include everything, we cover all your costs and complete the RPAS training in full. We are the only company that can provide you with a formal Qualification in form of the Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot – Visual Line of Sight) and you’ll get your RPAS Licence, Manufacturers training on our DJI Phantom 4’s, the AROC as well as your own Micro-drone to use during the course and keep to practice at home when you have finished.

We also include the flight test that is required to complete your Operator’s Certificate. Ultimately this saves you money as you won’t need to pay additional money to sit this test when you apply for your OC.

3.  How many days do you spend training me?

Many UAV Training companies do their best to ensure that face to face training time is kept to a minimum by offering online courses and limited flight training. There are some operators offering to train you with as little face to face training as two days. From our experience it is simply impossible to ensure you are a competent and safe pilot in such short amounts of time.

At UAVAIR we spend 2 weeks conducting online course learning and 7 days face to face training making sure you have all the skills you need to have a career flying drones. You will learn on multiple aircraft and cover a range of scenarios in training. You will be thoroughly tested at each step of the training process and can be confident you have been trained to the highest level of certification and skill.

4. What equipment will I learn to fly with?

Many companies will train you on an ageing fleet of multi-rotors, that way they keep costs down and don’t have to worry too much if you crash during training. The trouble with this approach is that the technology for drones is changing rapidly and you need to be trained on the latest controls and equipment to ensure that you are receiving training of the highest standard.

All our equipment is refreshed regularly. Currently our fleet consists of RC Logger’s, DJI Phantom 4’s and DJI Inspire 1’s and an M600.

5. What is the difference between the Certificate III and RPAS Training?

The AVI30316 Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot – Visual Line of Sight) is a formal, nationally recognised qualification while the RPAS training will give you the RPC (Remote Pilot Certificate) which allows you to pilot RPAS and is issued by CASA.

Learn more about the certification here: