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Remotely piloted aircraft system definitions and abbreviations – RPAS

Remotely piloted aircraft system definitions and abbreviations


Approved areaThe area approved under regulation 101.030 as an area approved for the operation of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).
Authority controlling the areaThe entity that has control and has been authorised to manage that type of airspace, e.g.:

  • Prohibited – the secretary to the Department of Defence.
  • Restricted – the authority mentioned in the aeronautical information publication (as issued from time to time) as the controlling authority for the area.
  • Danger area – the authority mentioned in the aeronautical information publication (as issued from time to time) as the controlling authority for the area.
Aviation reference number (ARN)A customer reference number issued by CASA to individual people or organisations for the administration of pilots, engineers and operators to obtain any form of license or certification from CASA.
Beyond visual – line-of-sight (BVLOS)Flying an RPA without the remote pilot having a visual line of sight at all times. Instead, the remote pilot flies the aircraft from a remote pilot station (RPS) which must be approved by CASA before being conducted.
Hazardous operationsA person must not operate an unmanned aircraft in a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, person or property. Refer to CASR 101.055.
Hire or rewardThe term adopted by CASA to define commercial UAV/UAS/RPAS use. Any form of remuneration for flying an unmanned aircraft in an aerial work operation (AWO), however small the AWO task, the reward or UAV; it constitutes ‘hire & reward’ and is therefore defined as commercial. Refer to CASR101.270.
Populous areaAn area with a sufficient population density that if a fault in, or failure of, the unmanned aircraft (or rocket) poses an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of a person in the area who is not connected with the operation. Refer to CASR101.025.
Visual line of sight (VLOS)Keeping the unmanned aircraft in visual line of sight at all times unaided (except for prescription glasses or sunglasses) without the use of binoculars, telescopes or zoom lenses i.e. not flying the into clouds or fog, behind trees, buildings or other (even partial) obstructions.
What are some common RPAS Acronyms
            Acronym                                                                            Meaning
AFISAerodrome flight information service
AGLAbove ground level
ALAAeroplane landing area
ARNAviation reference number
AROCAircraft radio operator certificate
ATPLAirline transport pilot licence
AWOAerial work operation
BAKBasic aeronautical knowledge
BVLOSBeyond visual line of sight
CASRCivil Aviation Safety Regulation
CPLCommercial pilot licence
FPVFirst person view
HLSHelicopter landing site
PPLPrivate pilot licence
RePLRemote pilot licence
ReOCPRPA operator’s certificate
RPARemotely piloted aircraft
RPASRemotely piloted aircraft system
RPSRemote pilot station
UASUnmanned aerial system (UAV/RPAS)
UAVUnmanned aerial vehicle
UOCUnmanned operating certificate
VFRVisual flight rules
VLOSVisual line of sight


The Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) is a licence issued by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) that allows Remote Pilots to work under an RPA Operator’s Certificate (or ReOC, usually held by an approved business) and to operate medium-sized Excluded RPA (25kg up to 150kg) for agricultural purposes. The acronym ‘RePL’ is used by CASA to distinguish it from the manned aviation Recreational Pilot Licence (RPL). The RePL was previously known as a UAV Controller’s Certificate (UCC).

Reproduced by permission of Remote Aviation Australia



An ReOC is like the air operator’s certificate (AOC) used for traditional manned aviation operations. ReOCs were formally known as UAV Operator Certificates (UOC), and are still commonly referred to as these. The ReOC authorises the holder to conduct included RPA operations for commercial purposes. The types of RPA, and any specific conditions, are endorsed on this certificate and any “instruments” of approval provided by CASA.

Holding an ReOC provides a significant advantage in allowing a wide range of RPA operations that are not available to other (excluded RPA) operators. Overall, an ReOC is required for any operation that is not an excluded RPA operation, including:

  • All RPA operating outside of the standard operating conditions, other than micro RPA and model aircraft;
  • RPA weighing 2 kilograms or more, unless meeting the ‘landholder’ criteria;
  • All operations with a large RPA.

All ReOC holders must employ a Chief Remote Pilot to oversee the operation. There are currently no specific experience requirements for the position of Chief Remote Pilot. However, to be considered suitable the person would need to have an RePL (remote pilot licence) and advanced knowledge and experience commensurate with the operator’s planned operations. The candidate must pass a flight test carried out by CASA or an approval delegate, and must demonstrate to CASA that he/she can effective carry out the required functions and duties.

Reproduced by permission of Remote Aviation Australia

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