In this interview, it is discussed the intricacies and challenges in optimising regulatory processes for Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) drone operations. Jackie Dujmovic, CEO of Hover UAV calls attention to the necessity for clear and direct regulations, to simplify the approval process. They underscore the need to comprehend the concept of operations and devise suitable technical solutions accordingly. Jackie refers to progressive solutions such as parachutes, redundant systems, and software programming to reduce operational risks. She advocates for cooperation, seeking support, and educating regulators as vital tactics in managing the regulatory landscape. The conversation concludes with a discussion about the future impact of regulatory processes in maximising the potential of BVLOS operations and the importance of implementing standard scenarios to expedite the process.
We’re absolutely thrilled at Hover UAV to introduce one of our clients, Profly Cinema! The team at Profly Cinema, fuelled by their relentless creativity and passion, have been collaborating closely with our team, leading to an extraordinary achievement – securing close proximity approval from the Civil Aviation Safety Authority!
Profly Cinema was founded by two world-class drone racing pilots Ben Mortensen and Rudi Browning. Ben and Rudi are highly skilled pilots having won FAI World Championship titles in 2018 and travelled extensively around the world racing drones at the highest competitive levels. When Covid put an end to international travel and racing, they transitioned their dynamic piloting skills to the film industry.
For over twelve months we have been consulting with Profly Cinema to develop their manuals and procedures which has led to a number of CASA approvals that allow them to legally fly their drones with First Person View (FPV), conduct extended visual line (EVLOS) of site operations, fly at night, and in close proximity to talent.
Chief remote pilot Ben Mortensen said “Our piloting skills and film experience have rapidly earned us a reputation in the industry as the ‘go-to pilots’ for specialised drone operations. With our CASA approvals, we can legally conduct drone operations in a safe and controlled environment for our clients and capture unique, creative, and engaging shots. We’ve invested heavily in our systems, procedures, and the latest drone technology.” Profly Cinema offers a comprehensive range of drone services, featuring state-of-the-art platforms such as the Inspire 3 with RTK, Cinema FPV, Gimbal FPV, GoPro FPV, and Close Proximity Drones.
Ben said “Given the complex legislative requirements regarding RPAS operations in Australia, it’s been great to have the support of the team at Hover UAV. Their legislative knowledge of the industry is second to none. As we are rapidly expanding they have also helped us with some workload by handling CASA applications and negotiations on our behalf.”
Rudi Browning explained “We identified a gap in the Australian market” and “It was a natural progression for us to go from drone racing to film. Racing allowed us to develop the skills to fly and perform under pressure. We can now transform that skill and deliver creative content for the film industry.” When asking Rudi what it’s like working in the film and TV industry, Rudi said “It’s so much fun. We get to travel to amazing locations and work with amazing people.” Rudi also says “It comes with incredibly long hours and can be stressful. Sometimes you only have one chance to get the shot, so you need to be on your game. Plus, flying a drone through the air with a $50K camera on board is not for everyone, so you need to be confident with what you do and have the equipment and skills to match.”
Rudi and Ben also spend their time educating school students about drone safety, highlighting and promoting CASA’s Know Your Drone Campaign. “We love to share our story about what it’s like being a professional drone pilot and how we’ve turned our passion into a career,” Ben and Rudi said. “Kids see some of the stuff we do and the cool shots we get with a drone, but it’s important for the general public to understand we have special approvals and procedures in place to do what we do and it’s done in a controlled environment. It’s important that drone pilots understand they need to remain 30 meters from people, and that’s why we like to help educate future upcoming drone pilots.”
Hover UAV are proud to work with the team at Profly Cinema and help them achieve their goals and we look forward to seeing some more of their work on the big screen. They are in a unique position within the film industry by having truly world-class pilots headlining the company’s operations.
BVLOS training – The drone industry views operating Beyond Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS) as the next frontier but obtaining the necessary BVLOS rating has been a challenge due to the complexity of the current licensing requirements. However, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) in Australia has introduced an alternative way of obtaining the BVLOS rating through a CASA-approved OCTA BVLOS examination, which has eliminated the barriers and complexity of the previous Instrument Rating Examination (IREX) requirement.
To help operators and organisations prepare for this new requirement, Hover UAV, a well-known drone consultancy, has launched a nationwide training program for the BVLOS Rating exam. The course covers a wide range of topics, including general BVLOS knowledge, aeronautical knowledge, meteorology, airspace classification, human factors, navigation systems, communications, and examination practice, which has been tailored to provide operators with the knowledge and skills needed to pass CASA’s OCTA BVLOS examination and as such operate safely and efficiently during BVLOS operations.
Hover UAV’s new training program is an excellent opportunity for operators and organisations looking to transition to BVLOS operations. With Hover UAV’s expertise in conducting BVLOS operations in applications such as drone delivery, operating from a remote operations center (ROC), and conducting long-range surveillance, the company is well-positioned to offer high-quality training and ensure a smooth and safe transition to BVLOS operations. The program is open to all operators across Australia, and Hover UAV is committed to providing nationwide training.
If you’re interested in Hover UAV’s BVLOS Rating examtraining program, you can visit their website to learn more and sign up for the next available training session. With the drone industry evolving rapidly, this training program is an excellent way to stay ahead of the curve and become a successful and safe BVLOS operator.
For more information please do not hesitate to reach out to Hover UAV for more information.
Hydrogen in the RPAS industry – Hydrogen has gained significant attention as a clean and renewable fuel source, and for good reason. Its production results in only water and heat, making it a pollution-free alternative to traditional fossil fuels. As countries around the world, including Australia, work towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, Australian companies are investing in hydrogen research and development to reduce their carbon footprint.
Australia has abundant renewable energy resources, such as wind and solar power, which can be utilized to produce hydrogen through electrolysis. This puts the country in a favorable position to become a leader in the hydrogen economy and provide a sustainable and renewable energy source for industries such as aviation.
In recent years, we have seen an increasing number of companies and universities incorporating hydrogen technology into their operations. For example, Swinburne University’s airhub received a grant from the Department of Infrastructure Emerging Aviation Technology program to incorporate hydrogen into a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) drone. Additionally, leading drone and robotics retailers such as C3 drones and Robotics have imported and distributed hydrogen drones and fuel cells from Doosan Mobility Innovation, offering longer flight times and more efficient energy use.
Hydrogen fuel cell technology offers several benefits over traditional battery-powered drones, including higher efficiency and cost-effectiveness. However, it requires specific operational, handling, and maintenance procedures to ensure safety and compliance. Companies that incorporate hydrogen-powered drones into their operations must have specific procedures for pre and post-flight operations, emergency procedures, handling and storage of hydrogen, transportation of hydrogen, and maintenance procedures.
While there are currently no additional qualifications required for remote pilots of hydrogen-powered drones, it is recommended to adapt internal training that covers all the necessary procedures to ensure safe handling and operation of the fuel cell systems. This will ensure compliance and minimise risks.
In conclusion, the adoption of hydrogen as an energy source in the aviation industry, including drones, offers a promising solution for reducing carbon emissions and achieving sustainability goals. As countries invest in hydrogen research and development, we can expect to see more widespread adoption of hydrogen fuel cell technologies in the aviation industry. However, safe and compliant operations are crucial, and companies must develop and implement specific procedures for handling and operating hydrogen-powered drones. Contact Hover UAV for assistance in incorporating hydrogen into your CASA Operations manual.
Drones have become increasingly popular in Australia, with more and more people using them for various purposes. However, this rise in drone usage has also raised concerns about the noise they create. The Australian Government has established regulations for drone noise, and in some cases, individuals or organisations can apply for an exemption to these regulations. Australian Drone Noise Approvals can be found here
If you’re a drone operator in Australia, it’s important to know that you must apply for approval under the Noise Regulations. The grace period for adjusting to the new regulatory framework ended on July 1st, 2022. However, most drone operators will likely be exempt or automatically granted approval. For complex or large operations, operators may need to undergo a more detailed assessment before obtaining approval from the department on the Drones.gov.au website. Dones.gov.au is an official website of the Australian Government created to provide information and guidelines related to the use of drones or remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) in Australia. The website aims to educate and inform drone operators about the regulations on safe and lawful drone operations, privacy, and noise.
Applying for Australian Drone Noise approvals?
You may need to seek approval under the Noise Regulations if:
• You are flying for a commercial purpose and/or you have been issued a remotely piloted aircraft operator’s certificate (ReOC) (visit CASA’s website).
You do not need to seek approval under the Noise Regulations if:
• You only fly drones that weigh 250 grams or less
• You only fly drones under standard operating conditions (visit CASA’s website)
• You only fly drones for one or more of the following purposes:
• Agricultural operations
• Environmental operations
• Fire-fighting, medical, emergency, or policing purposes
It is recommended you fill out the Self-assessment application form for Australian Drone Noise Approvals located at https://www.drones.gov.au/recreational/noise. You only need to complete this form once to cover your expected and typical drone operations over the next 12 months. If you are not sure about the details of the operations you may be conducting over the next year, answer the questions to the best of your knowledge. If the nature of your operations changes significantly over the next 12 months, you should complete the form again or provide additional information to the department to maintain a valid approval. Details of your obligations will be provided as part of your approval. During the self-assessment form, you will be asked a series of questions on the sort of operations and if your drone operations will impact noise-sensitive areas.
The Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communication, and the Arts defines noise-sensitive sites and impacts as:
Noise-sensitive sites are locations that are used for purposes sensitive to noise. This includes:
• Residential buildings
• Schools and places of education including preschools and childcare centers
• Hospitals, aged care facilities, and other health-related facilities
• Places of worship
• Places of temporary residence including hotels and motels
• Cultural sites
• Public recreational buildings and places, e.g., open theatres and amphitheaters.
In determining whether your drone operations are likely to have an impact on noise-sensitive sites, you should take into account the following factors:
• If noise from your drone operation can be clearly heard at the noise-sensitive site, then it can be considered to have an impact.
Example: A drone operator is inspecting construction works that are next to some apartments. If the drone operator is only flying during the day while construction work is occurring, the drone is unlikely to impact the surrounding residences due to the background construction noise you should answer no it does not have an impact however. If the drone is flying at night, the drone operation would likely have an impact on the surrounding residences as there would be no background construction noise you should answer yes it would have an impact.
However, even if you are operating in a noise-sensitive area and will have a noise impact, it does not necessarily mean that you will be exempt from the noise regulations. You will need to determine if your drone operation will have a noise impact on the same noise-sensitive site(s) on an ongoing basis. To determine this, you need to base it on your typical operations or current plans for the next 12 months.
Drone operations should be considered to have an impact on an ongoing basis if they impact the same sensitive site at least four times per week on average over a period of at least 1 month.
For example, a drone delivery service regularly operates in the same suburb. Some properties in this suburb will likely be affected by drones flying overhead or providing deliveries to their neighbors on a regular basis. This operator will then have an impact on an ongoing basis. However, a commercial real-estate photographer takes photographs of different houses on a regular basis. The drone operations will impact different sites each day but will not impact the same site on an ongoing basis.
Once you have completed the required form, you will receive a notification about your exemption status. As previously mentioned, the majority of drone operations in Australia will be exempt from noise regulations. An exemption email will be sent to you, which should be kept on file or included in your CASA operation manual (in approvals/exemptions) and renewed annually or if your assessment changes.
Furthermore, the Australian Government is developing a comprehensive outcomes-based Noise Framework for emerging aviation technologies. This framework will incorporate consistent procedures for measuring the noise output of new technologies, noise impact modeling at ground level, noise-based regulations, standard noise threshold settings developed through consultation with local, state, and territorial governments, and the consideration of noise impacts associated with drones and electric vertical take-off and landing vehicles as part of the Infrastructure Planning Framework.
In conclusion, complying with drone noise regulations is crucial for safe and lawful drone operations in Australia. By understanding the regulations, monitoring noise emissions, and applying for an exemption if necessary, drone operators can ensure they are operating within the law and minimising the impact of their drones on the public and wildlife.
About the author
Hover UAV is a leading drone consulting company based in Australia. With years of experience in the industry, we specialise in providing expert advice and support to drone operators of all levels, from beginners to advanced professionals. Our team of experienced and certified drone pilots has a passion for helping our clients achieve their goals safely and efficiently. We are committed to staying up-to-date with the latest drone regulations and technologies, and we take pride in providing exceptional customer service to our clients. If you have any questions or need assistance with drone operations, don’t hesitate to contact us at Hover UAV.
The podcast featuring Jackie Dujmovic is about streamlining regulatory approval processes for unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), specifically in relation to controlling drones Beyond the Visual Line of Sight (BVLOS).
Jackie Dujmovic is the CEO and Founder of Hover UAV, an Australian-based company specialising in drone services and consulting. In the podcast, she discusses the challenges of working with regulators to establish processes and regulations that enable BVLOS operations, as well as the checklist for safe BVLOS operations. Additionally, Jackie talks about unmanned systems at Australia’s Avalon Airshow and her experience working with regulators from other jurisdictions.
The podcast is sponsored by Drone Source, an Elsight production. Elsight’s Halo is an AI-powered connectivity platform for unmanned vehicles, providing a reliable and constant connection between drones and ground control stations, even in areas with little reception.
Take a deep dive in this webinar into the Australian Drone Regulations and what is required to operate RPAS systems in Australia with a comprehensive look at the regulatory framework including classes of operation and ultimately what is required to operate BVLOS along with the standard scenarios that have recently been developed to make the process easier to be achieved. Australian Drone Regulations are in many ways progressive and as such are enticing companies to Australia for testing or implementing world-first RPAS operations with the mindset that if they can have their operations approved in Australia they can have them approved anywhere in the world. This coupled with features such as vast unpopulated geographic areas allows for testing that may not be able to be achieved in other more densely populated nations.
Another exciting recent release is the Civil Aviation Safety Authorities (CASAs) strategic regulatory roadmap. The Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) and Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) Strategic Regulatory Roadmap outlines the CASA’s approach to RPAS and AAM regulations over the next 10 to 15 years. It sets out the long-term plan for safely integrating these technologies into Australia’s airspace and future regulatory system, alongside traditional aviation. The evolution of the roadmap will continue to keep pace with new technologies and innovations to support the future of this rapidly growing industry. The release of this strategic regulatory roadmap shows that governments in Australia across all levels firmly have their eyes fixed on new and evolving aviation technologies now and more importantly long-term.
Jackie Dujmovic is the founder and CEO of Hover UAV an internationally recognised drone consultancy and system management company. Jackie and her team have been involved in many groundbreaking drone programs including conducting flight operations for the Google Wing Drone Delivery program, Implementing many first BVLOS flight approvals, Conducting the first NSW shark surveillance flights, implementing and overseeing the largest volunteer rollout of drone operations in Australia and invented life-saving UAV shark alarm technology. Jackie knows flight regulations and procedures like nobody’s business and is an invaluable resource for anyone wanting to create a world-leading drone operation. When her head isn’t in the clouds, it’s on the ground getting things moving (and making sure her kids get to school on time). A WeRobotics, AAUS and Safeskies Australia board member, NSW Govt Business Woman of the Year Finalist, Optus Business Woman of the Year Finalist and Unmanned Aerial System Industry Honouree.
Mustering Success with Drones – It was during the 2020 World of Drones and Robotics conference held annually in Brisbane, that Hover UAV was approached by Luke Chaplain an innovative entrepreneur in the Agtech space and 2022 Nuffield Scholar recipient who was looking to push his company to the next level. Luke’s company SkyKelpie is utilising drones for locating and mustering livestock in rural areas around Cloncurry in Australia’s northwest Queensland.
The benefits of remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) related technology for such an application are invaluable. To this day cattle are mustered by graziers on foot, horseback, dirt bike, vehicle and aircraft over enormous geographical areas. This comes at a significant cost not only fiscally but in terms of time tying up resources and labour that could otherwise be utilised for other pressing tasks on the station.
Mustering livestock using drones also has the added benefit of enhancing safety. Helicopter pilots no longer need to physically fly their aircraft within close proximity to the ground or amongst trees to get the herd on the move. With RPAS technology should there be an incident whilst mustering there could be an economic loss if the RPAS were to be lost into terrain but it is unlikely to cause loss of life which is a real risk for mustering helicopter pilots. Likewise, farming staff no longer need to drive over or traverse rough, on occasion unpassable terrain inevitably enhancing safety for all involved.
Sensor technology – Mustering success using drones
As drone technology has improved it is revolutionising applications such as mustering through ever-improving features like increased range, flight duration and improved sensors. These sensors in particular thermal sensors are now remodelling the way that livestock is located which historically had always been difficult, particularly on grazing land with uneven terrain or scrub. With today’s technology, this issue is vastly improved with the ability to identify and locate livestock day or night using zoom capabilities and thermal sensors. This improves inefficiencies and guesswork for all involved in the mustering operation.
Limitations and the Solution
When SkyKelpie first commenced its livestock mustering operations it did so under visual line of sight (VLOS) conditions meaning that the drone during the entire flight mission must have been clearly visible by the drone operator without any additional aids. Whilst this was sufficient to test the viability of RPAS technology to be an effective mustering tool, it was limiting when considering the geographical spread the livestock would roam. There needed to be a solution to this limitation and as such SkyKelpie sought firstly an extended visual line of sight (EVLOS) approval prior to a beyond visual line of sight (BVLOS) approval. To unleash the full potential of drone mustering it was imperative that a BVLOS approval be sought to allow for operations over larger geographic areas.
We are thrilled at Hover UAV to announce that Luke and SkyKelpie have recently achieved this BVLOS approval through the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA). This approval will be groundbreaking for SkyKelpie and allow for further work in developing methods of best practice when it comes to mustering livestock utilising drones. We wish SkyKelpie all the best and can’t wait to see the hard-earned results that will be achieved from this next phase of mustering innovation.
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One of the World's Leading Drone Experts
At Hover UAV we assist drone programs from conception to full implementation. We are a passionate team of experts, with diverse skill sets and backgrounds gained in sectors such as maritime, crewed aviation, defense, corporate and engineering sectors.