The Remote Pilot’s Licence (RPL) is a requirement to do any commercial work as a drone pilot. It is a key requirement for anyone wanting to work for a commercial drone operator with a CAA regulated RPAS Operating Certificate (ROC). This page sets out the route to obtain your RPL.
Note: Aerial Works has two instructor rated drone pilots and we work with various training schools.
Theory training - 7 days
Drones share the airspace with manned aircraft and as such pose a safety risk if not operated within certain regulations. In this module you will learn about the Civil Aviation Regulations guiding drone operations.
How does and aircraft stay in the air? In this module we discuss the theories of lift and how Newtons laws are intrincically linked to drone flight.
What are the building blocks when constructing a drone? In this module we discuss the parts that make up a drone and how the flight controller makes multirotor fligh possible.
Drones generally use batteries as a power source. In this module we learn about different batteries and their gravimetric energy density, and also why batteries are classified as Dangerous Goods.
A drone system is a combination of many components. The remote control station communicates with the drone via a command and control link and in this module we learn about the various systems that make everything work.
Given that we share the airspace with manned pilots, how do we operate in a safe manner? In this module we delve into the concept of Airmanship and why we must think like aviators when we fly a drone.
The human body has limitations, both physical and mental. In this module we consider the impact of human factors on the safe operation of a drone.
Flight takes place in the atmosphere surrounding earth. The weather affects flight operations and we should know when it is safe to fly, and how to interpret weather forecasts to make decisions on flight viabillity.
When planning a flight we should consider the airspace we plan to operate in. In this module we learn about flight planning and how to navigate from point A to B.
Radio telephony - 1 day + lots of homework
As a drone pilot you share the airspace with other pilots. As such you need to communicate with them, or the air traffic controller, via an aviation grade airband radio. In this module we learn to talk like pilots. We learn about airspaces and when we need to file flight plans for controlled airspace operations.
To get issued with your restricted radio license you need to write the exam at the CAA office or at an accredited flight school. In this module we prepare you for the CAA exam by doing lots of online mock exams, amongst other things.
Drone flying practical - 5 days + test
As a professional drone pilot more than 90% of your flights will be automated flights where you don’t fly the drone yourself. But what happens when things go wrong and you have to manually fly the drone under emmergency conditions. In this course we go to the field and learn to fly the drone without the help of the GPS system.
In order to satisfy the CAA technical standards we need to be able to execute certain maneuvers to a high degree of accuracy. These maneuvers include the following;
- Vertical square box
- Horizontal square box, nose in direction of flight
- Figure of eight
- Point of Interest
- Racecourse pattern
- 45 degree ascend and descend with nose in direction of flight.
We will also practise emergency maneuvers and loss of control procedures.
Your final test consists of 80% theory and 20% flying. You are required to demonstrate insight into aviation matters and fly the drone safely and accurately when asked to execute the maneuvers. You will receive a Letter of Recomendation from one of our instructors and have your final test with a Designated RPAS Examiner.
English language proficiency
English is the langauge of the air and all your radio work will be done in English. Because English is not everyones first langauge it was madated by ICAO that every pilot must hold an appropriate English proficiency certificate. We will arrange for this test to be administered during your theory training.