The Association of Australian Certified UAV Operators Inc. (ACUO) began in early 2009 with a number of informal meetings between the three Queensland certified UAV Operators at the time, Ray Gillinder & Brad Mason from Helimetrex, Joe Urli from UAV Systems, & Peter Hill from VTOL Aerospace. Over the course of 2009 informal meetings became more formal as more certified UAV Operators joined the group.

The certified UAV Operators were prompted to meet by a lack of direct representation for commercial UAV operators in industry forums, and a noticeable increase in the number of illegal and unauthorized UAV operators beginning to appear around the country.

The certified UAV Operators believed it was vital to stand together as one united voice to better represent & protect the commercial sector of unmanned aviation. The certified UAV Operators invested significant time & resources in the long-term viability of this industry and it was important to protect the integrity of that industry base as a legitimate sector of the wider aviation community.

But for the commercial sector of unmanned aviation to properly grow it was equally important to start ‘demystifying’ the technical & operational complexity inherent in our chosen profession, and to make it more accessible to industries, businesses and to new UAV Operators alike.

By the end of 2009 we had a committed group of seven of the eight Australian certified UAV Operators at the time, in agreement to move forward in forming our own association.

  • Air Affairs (Aust.)
  • Airship Solutions
  • Aerial Photography Specialists
  • EquinoxAir
  • HELImetrex
  • UAV Systems
  • VTOL Aerospace

On the 31st March 2010, ACUO was formally registered as a not-for-profit association in Queensland.

ACUO membership doubled in 2014 reflecting not only the recent high growth rate of the commercial sector of unmanned aviation in Australia, but our enduring relevance to the ever increasing numbers of CASA certified UAV operators. Since 2014 we have endured a better than 50% growth rate year on year. The new regulatory amendments in 2016 polarized the industry, and ACUO was proud to represent a significant portion of the industry outside our own membership base as well.