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New BVLOS Exam in 2023

New BVLOS Exam in 2023: The alternative to CASA's IREX

The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has proposed an alternative exam for operating remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS). This proposed exam is the first step in a broader BVLOS licensing framework.  It is designed to act as an alternative pathway from the instrument rating exam (IREX) for BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace and is more relevant to RPA operations than the current IREX exam.

The BVLOS exam is applicable to remote pilots who wish to operate BVLOS outside of controlled airspace (OCTA). The exam has 40 questions and requires a 70% pass mark. Once passed, the candidate will be issued with a Knowledge Deficiency Report (KDR) indicating they have successfully passed the exam. There will be no digital credentials issued. At this time, the BVLOS OCTA qualification is perpetual and does not have an expiration date.

The KDR allows the holder to operate BVLOS under a Remote Operator Certificate (ReOC). The ReOC holder must hold an approval to operate BVLOS under regulation 101.029 of Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998 (CASR). However, it is only valid for BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace. For operations within controlled airspace, the IREX exam is still required.

Proposed BVLOS OCTA Aeronautical Knowledge Standards and Guide

The proposed BVLOS OCTA aeronautical knowledge standards and guide will provide a clear set of requirements for BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace. The standards and guide will ensure that remote pilots operating beyond visual line of sight have a comprehensive understanding of the aeronautical knowledge required to conduct BVLOS operations.

The proposed BVLOS OCTA aeronautical knowledge guide will cover various topics, including:

  1. Airspace Classification and Operations
  2. Meteorology
  3. Navigation and Flight Planning
  4. Flight Performance and Limitations
  5. Human Factors
  6. General Safety and Regulatory Requirements
  7. Technical Aspects of RPAS.

The proposed standards outline the aeronautical knowledge requirements for BVLOS operations outside of controlled airspace, including:

  1. Aviation Law and Procedures
  2. Human Factors
  3. Navigation
  4. Meteorology
  5. RPAS Systems and Performance

The standards and guide will be incorporated later into the Part 101 Manual of Standards, providing easier access to tailored industry training courses specific to BVLOS.

The release date of the next version of the Part 101 Manual of Standards will determine when the BVLOS exam will be available. The exam will be available through the existing 38 Pilot Examination Office (PEXO) system already in use across Australia.

Once the standards and guide are published, Air Inspect Australia will be able to conduct training programs to develop candidate knowledge to a level that will prepare the candidate to pass the exam. Candidates can self-study to pass the exam.

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