AC Advisory Circular
AGL Above Ground Level
AIP Aeronautical Information Publication
ARN Aviation Reference Number
ATC Air Traffic Control
ATS Air Traffic Services
AWO Aerial Work Operations
BVLOS Beyond Visual Line Of Sight (or sometimes just BLOS)
CAR Civil Aviation Regulations 1988
CASA Civil Aviation Safety Authority
CASR Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998
CAO Civil Aviation Order
CUC Chief UAV Controller (or the new term: Chief Remote Pilot)
CRP Chief Remote Pilot
EVLOS Extended Visual Line Of Sight
ICAO International Civil Aviation Organization
IFR Instrument Flight Rules
IMC Instrument Meteorological Conditions
RP Remote Pilot
RPA Remotely Piloted Aircraft
RPAS Remotely Piloted Aircraft System
RPS Remote Pilot Station
RPL1 Remote Pilot Licence – Level 1 (VLOS)
NFRM Notice of Final Rule Making
NPRM Notice of Proposed Rule Making
SCC Standards Consultative Committee (CASA)
UAS Unmanned Aircraft System
UAV Unmanned Aerial Vehicle
UOC UAV Operator Certificate
VFR Visual Flight Rules
VLOS Visual Line Of Sight
VMC Visual Meteorological Conditions



Aviation Reference Number: This is a customer reference number issued by CASA to individual people or organizations. An ARN has no bearing on anyone’s qualification or approval to operate an aircraft. It is purely a reference number for CASA administration of pilots, engineers & operators.

Aerial Work Operations: Aerial Work Operations (AWO’s) are commercial aviation operations undertaken by CASA certified legal entities. AWO’s are typically grouped by task such as; Aerial Photography; Aerial Surveying; or Aerial Spotting; to name just 3. Unless the legal entity [the person or the business] is certified by CASA, they are not legal to conduct aerial work operations.

Hire & Reward: The 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, however small the AWO task, the reward, or the UAV, constitutes ‘Hire & Reward’. [See CASR101.270]

Populous Area: An area is a populous area in relation to the operation of an unmanned aircraft or rocket if the area has a sufficient density of population for some aspect of the operation, or some event that might happen during the operation (in particular, a fault in, or failure of, the aircraft or rocket) to pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of somebody who is in the area but is not connected with the operation. [See CASR101.025]

Remote Pilot: The term used to denote the pilot in command (PIC) of a remotely piloted aircraft system.

A qualified Remote Pilot is someone who has undertaken a formal course of aviation training and holds a personal qualification such as a UAV Controller Certificate or a Remote Pilot Licence, issued by CASA.

An unqualified Remote Pilot is someone who has not undertaken a formal course of aviation training, and is either operating to a limited set of Standard Operating Conditions under the 'Excluded RPA' class, or is only operating recreationally.

Remote Pilot Licence: A Remote Pilot Licence is issued by CASA to an individual, and demonstrates competency as a 'Pilot' of a remotely piloted aircraft or UAV. (of the type specified on the licence) This is the modern equivalent of the traditional ‘UAV Controller Certificate’ and having the same privileges as a 'UAV Controller Certificate' at the same level.

  • Level 1 – VLOS Operations [Developed and being delivered by CASA certified RPAS training organizations only]
  • Level 2 – BVLOS Operations [In Development]
  • Level 3 – International Operations [In Development]

A Remote Pilot Licence does not confer any rights on the holder to operate UAVs for commercial purposes. [See - UAV Operator]

UAV Controller: This is the original term adopted by CASA for the pilot of an unmanned aircraft. A UAV Controller is certified to fly UAVs of the type specified on their certificate.

UAV Controller Certificate: Is issued by CASA to an individual, and demonstrates competency as a 'Pilot' of a UAV. (of the type specified on the certificate) It is still a valid qualification but is now steadily being replaced with the new ‘Remote Pilot Licence’.

A UAV Controller Certificate does not confer any rights on the holder to operate UAVs for commercial purposes. [See - UAV Operator]

UAV Operator: The legal entity (a person or a business) certified by CASA to conduct UAV flight operations for designated commercial Aerial Work Operations (AWOs). A certified UAV or RPAS Operator has met a minimum standard of safety.

UAV Operator Certificate: (UOC) A certificate issued by CASA authorizing a legal entity to operate a UAV for commercial Aerial Work Operations. A UOC shows that the entity has met a minimum standard of safety to operate commercially. A UOC details the time-period over which the operator is certified to operate (typically for 1 year, and then 3 yearly thereafter), any conditions under which the operator must operate, and the types of UAVs the Operator is approved to operate, including any subsequent conditions.

A UOC is very similar to the type of certification system used for commercial manned aircraft operators, except in the manned sector they call it an Aircraft Operator Certificate (AOC).

IMPORTANT NOTE: In industry today with the new regulatory amendments of 2016, there are now 'Certified' operators, 'Accredited' operators, both 'Certified & Accredited' operators, and at the opposite end, unqualified operators. Note that 'Certification' is not the same as 'Accreditation'.

Certification denotes the operator has met a minimum standard of safety set by aviation regulation. This is regulated by CASA and is audited routinely to ensure minimum safety standards are being maintained. Certification also typically denotes a professional operator who has gone to the trouble of ensuring their personnel are all appropriately trained and qualified in accordance with aviation regulations. This is the highest 'Industry Standard', and as such Certified operators are generally more experienced, have the widest scope to operate and can apply for exemptions to the Standard Operating Conditions. Further accreditation is not necessary, however it may distinguish higher standards.

Accreditation denotes the operator has met an independent 3rd party standard adopted by industry, but regulated by the independent 3rd party. Accreditation is a voluntary undertaking typically covering other items that regulation may not, such as minimum insurance requirements, codes of conduct etc. Accredited operators are now permitted under the new 'Excluded RPA' class of RPAS and need not be certified, but at the same time they are limited to certain RPAS only, and to the Standard Operating Conditions only, and no exemptions to the Standard Operating Conditions are permitted.

Unqualified operators are also now permitted under the new 'Excluded RPA' class of RPAS and are limited to certain RPAS only and to the Standard Operating Conditions only, and no exemptions to the Standard Operating Conditions are permitted.

The Advisory Circulars; AC101-01v2 - RPAS Licencing & Operations, and AC101-10v1.2 - RPAS operation of Excluded RPA refer.