• Frequently Asked Questions | Drones

    As an RPAS operator although you have a UAS Operators’ Certificate (UOC) issued by CASA at UAS International  (UASI)  we  have  found  that  large  organisations  –  such  as  for  example,  our  launch  customer Nine Network – and major resource and mining companies, require additional safety assurance  apart  from  the  holding  of  a  CASA  UOC.  Large  organisations  and  government  agencies  require high-­‐level and independent assurance that contracted RPAS services will be carried out safely and  in  accordance  with  all  applicable  regulations.  UASI  in  partnership  with  QBE  Australia  have  developed the UAS International Standard (UIS) to provide a universal standard for the RPAS sector so  that  Registered  Member  Organisations  (RMOs)  can  be  assured  that  operators  with  which  they  contract meet or exceed these standards and can therefore provide a safe and responsible service.
    In being assessed and approved on the UIS panel of Approved UAS Operators (AUO) you will be able to expand your client base and offer the range of UAS services your organisation provides to all USI Registered  Member  Organisations.  Apart  from  maintaining  your  existing  clientele  this  gives  your  organisation access to all the RMOs that will be mostly large corporations and government agencies. The  one  proviso  is  that  if  your  existing  client  is  or  becomes  an  RMO  then  the  RPAS  services  you  provide to this client can only be offered through the UIS Program. This requirement is a condition that  all  RMOs  have  agreed  to  in  becoming  a  registered  member  of  the  UIS  Program  and  is  their  ongoing guarantee of a consistent and high standard of all RPAS service providers they retain.
    Once approved on the UIS panel of Approved UAS Operators you will be able to offer those RPAS services that you have been assessed or audited against and demonstrated conformance with under the UIS Program. For example, if you have been assessed or audited to provide RPAS services to the Media  and  Broadcast  sector  then  there  will  be  additional  standards  that  specifically  relate  to  this  industry sector.
    While the UIS Standards ensure compliance with all the CASA regulatory standards under CASR Part 101 the UIS standards also address specific competency standards required by RMO clients. Again by way  of  example  the  media  and  broadcast  Industry  Advisory  Group  (IAG)  is  comprised  of  representatives from the major broadcasting networks that have agreed upon additional standards that they consider are important in the provision of RPAS services to this specialist industry sector.
    Simply pre-­‐register online at www.uasinternational.com and pay a registration fee of $100 +GST. The UIS Program Office (UPO) upon receipt of your registration will review your application and assess your organisation as being either a Tier 1, 2 or 3 Operator. The UIS classification assessment criteria relates to a number of factors including: size and complexity of your unmanned aircraft; the number of units you operate; whether you operate under CASA exemptions and so on. The majority (about 70%) of RPAS operators will be classified as Tier 3 operators – typically smaller multi-­‐rotor units. Tier 1 operators are the larger more complex RPAS some in excess of 1,000 kg take-­‐off weight. If your organisation  satisfies  all  the  pre-­‐registration  requirements  you  then  need  to  formally  register  and  agree to undertake an assessment (if you are a Tier 3 operator) by a Certified UIS Auditor. Tier 1 and Tier 2 operators are required to undertake onsite audits – one auditor/one day for Tier 2 and two auditors/two days for Tier 1. The cost of a Tier 3 assessment is $850 +GST less the deduction of your registration fee. The cost of Tier 1 and Tier 2 audits is available through the UIS Program Office.
    Most reputable and professional RPAS operators will most probably need to do very little to prepare for a UIS assessment or audit as they may all ready meet most of the applicable UIS International Standards.  The  best  way  to  prepare  for  an  assessment  or  audit  is  to  review  the  relevant  program  documentation including the UIS Procedures Manual. You will need to nominate a principal contact person  and  provide  the  assigned  Certified  UIS  Auditor(s)  with  any  required  information  or  documentation. You should also review any additional standards that may apply to the particular services you have nominated and against which you will be assessed or audited. For example, if you have  selected  for  example,  “Media  and  Broadcasting”  or  “Resource  and  Mining”  then  you  should  review these standards that have been agreed to by the respective Industry Advisory Groups.
    Tier 3 assessments are not conducted onsite but you will need to provide further details regarding your  organisation  such  as  the  experience  of  your  operational  personnel,  nature  of  previous  assignments undertaken, details of your safety systems and your organisation’s policies, procedures and practices. Your assigned UIS Certified Auditor (UCA) will be an experienced aviation lead auditor who has undertaken an approved RPAS Lead Auditor Training Course that is ISO 9001 certified. The assigned  auditor  may  require  additional  information  relating  to  the  nature  of  the  services  you  are  offering – for example, specialist aerial photography or pipeline and powerline inspections. If approved onto the panel it is only those type of services against which you have been assessed or audited that you will be able to offer to the Registered Member Organisations. These services and the results of your assessment or audit will then be visible to RMOs via the online (cloud) database UASIS – the UAS Information System. RMOs can then search UASIS by type of service and location to identify which AUO they wish to retain for a specific RPAS assignment under the UIS Program.
    The short answer is ‘No’. Only those RPAS operators that can demonstrate conformance to the UIS Standard and ongoing compliance with the UIS Code of Conduct will be registered on the panel of Approved UAS Operators. This is the safety assurance of the UIS Program upon which the RMOs rely. Insisting  upon  and  maintaining  high  standards  guarantees  the  integrity  of  the  UIS  Program  and  enhances its standing and reputation with the industry, the general public and the safety regulator. Maintaining  high  standards  is  how  the  UIS  Program  distinguishes  between  professional  RPAS  operators who want to do the right thing for their clients from those ‘cowboy’ operators wanting to make a quick dollar – in whatever way they can. Maintaining high industry standards also helps to protect the integrity and reputation of the emerging commercial RPAS sector so that it can further develop and grow – but to do so professionally and responsibly. In gaining registration on the panel of Approved UAS Operators your organisation will be able to promote and market the attainment of this  standard  and  your  organisation  will  be  immediately  recognisable  to  high  value  clients  as  a  reputable and professional RPAS operator. Additionally your organisation will benefit from UASI’s marketing of the UIS Program and promoting your organisation’s participation in the UIS Program.
    The negotiation of the terms of retainment and the remuneration you receive from the Registered Member Organisation is entirely a matter between you and the RMO. Apart from your obligation to comply with the terms of your AUO agreement and compliance with the UIS Code of Conduct in the performance of your services the financial arrangements for each assignment is your own business. In accordance with the program documentation if the remuneration for your assignment or series of assignments is less than AUD $10,000 then details of the assignment(s) are recorded on the Provision of  Services  (POS)  agreement.  Following  assignment  negotiations  with  the  client  RMO  the  POS  agreement is completed online on UASIS and signed by both parties. Once executed a copy of the POS  agreement  is  electronically  forwarded  to  the  UIS  Program  Office.  The  RMO  will  pay  a  management fee to UASI in respect to each assignment but there is no cost or payment required by the operator to UASI in respect to any assignments. The operator will be entitled to the full amount as  agreed  with  the  client  RMO.  The  terms  and  conditions  relating  to  assignments  with  a  value  in  excess of AUD $10,000 are addressed in a separate and more formal UIS Services Contract (USC).
    Provided  the  operator  performs  the  assignment  in  accordance  with  all  the  applicable  UIS  Program  requirements and as detailed in the POS agreement then UASI will guarantee full payment of the amount specified in the POS. The RMO is contractually bound to UASI for the payment of the agreed assignment  fee.  It  is  important  for  the  operator  to  understand  that  this  guarantee  is  only  valid  provided the POS agreement is forwarded to the UIS Program Office in the manner stipulated above.
    Yes.  The  RMOs  require  that  every  operator  must  have  adequate  insurance  for  each  assignment  undertaken under the UIS Program. Details of the agreed insurance cover are included in the respective Provision of Services agreement or UIS Services Contract for each assignment. The good news regarding insurance is that QBE provides a rebate to current QBE policy holders for operators that are registered on the panel of Approved UAS Operators and that undertake UIS assignments.