A Council's guide to obtaining a Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC)
Welcome to FlyFreely’s guide for councils and governmental entities to earning a Remote Operators Certificate (ReOC) when starting or scaling their Drone/UAV/RPAS programme.
Firstly, why do Drones Matter for Councils?
The horizons for drone applications in municipal settings are expansive, covering realms like environmental assessments, asset checks, land analysis and general media capture for tourism purposes. To truly harness the ROI potential of an in-house drone program, it's becoming vital for authorities to explore and integrate drone functionalities in more and more departments with increasing levels of complexity.
In Australia, an important part of this journey begins with securing a ReOC.
The following article covers the general overview of what it takes to obtain a ReOC, including some of the additional unique nuances local councils bodies are required to complete.
What is a ReOC?
The ReOC is a stamp of validation from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA), empowering institutions to launch certified commercial drone operations. This certification, exclusive to organisations (not individuals), offers licenced drone operators under the ReOC permissions such as:
- Operating drones weighing more than 2 kg
- Flying within 3 Nautical Miles of a monitored aerodrome
- Night-time drone operations
- Securing permissions to fly beyond standard altitude and distance restrictions
For a deeper dive, here's a short video from CASA detailing the nuances of commercial drone operations:
Charting the Route to a ReOC
Acquiring a ReOC is typically a clear-cut process, yet manoeuvring within the realm of governmental bodies can introduce its own intricacies.
- Identifying the Right Team
A successful ReOC application necessitates defining three pivotal roles:
- Chief Remote Pilot (CRP), and
- Maintenance Controller.
The unique aspect? A single individual can shoulder multiple roles.
A CRP must have a RePL and an Aeronautical Radio Operator's Certificate (AROC). On the other hand, the Maintenance Controller and CEO merely require an Aviation Reference Number (ARN), easily obtainable from CASA’s portal.
- Establishing a Robust Procedures and Operations Framework
With the leadership decided, the subsequent phase involves sculpting a Procedures Library and an Operations Manual, both integral to the ReOC application. This foundational documentation ensures uniformity in operations and leaves minimal room for errors.
While many opt for CASA delegates to curate these, CASA's own templates can serve as a base. For insights, refer to FlyFreely’s complimentary operating manual and procedures library (Click here to access).
- Navigating the ReOC Application Landscape
With leadership in place and documentation ready, the formal ReOC journey commences with CASA’s Part 101-02 form, accessible on the official CASA site (click here). Councils have an added step of including their Gazette within the application.
Post-approval from CASA or its appointed representative, the CRP steps into the spotlight for an interview.
- The CRP's Moment
This interview, rooted in a simulated scenario, assesses the CRP’s planning and decision-making skills, demanding explicit references from the operations manual and procedures archive.
Successful navigation through this stage culminates in your council receiving its prestigious ReOC from CASA.
Securing a ReOC isn’t daunting - It's about connecting the right individuals with a well-established procedure so you can start and scale your operations compliantly and safely.
In-house drones operations are transitioning quickly from ‘exploration’ and R&D - to now - an expectation and fundamental requirement for efficient and safe operations amongst leading organisations. Whilst operations can certainly be conducted without one, it is highly recommended ReOC based certification and operations are employed sooner rather than later to ensure both compliance and company growth are not compromised.
For those looking for support in their ReOC journey, FlyFreely offers both the platform and professional support in our ReOC PATHWAYS services. Feel free to reach out to our team to see how we might be able to help you achieve your ReOC today! (click here).