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Standard Scenarios for Beyond Visual Line of Sight approvals: CASA

Department 13

CASA has developed a suite of standard scenarios that may be used to apply for BVLOS operations.

To date, CASA has assessed BVLOS applications on a case-by-case basis according to the SORA process, with the process individually repeated for each new application. With increasing numbers of BVLOS applications being submitted, CASA has chosen to create standard scenarios for pre-defined operational characteristics to determine the likely mitigations and SORA assessment outcomes for operations that meet those characteristics. As these scenarios have been created according to specified operational characteristics, they can be applied to a wide range of use cases.

For each standard scenario, CASA has developed guidance material for operators to use when submitting a BVLOS application, including information about how to assess an area, and the mitigations and procedures required to support the application.

Standard scenarios have the following characteristics:

  • Near a vertical object over a controlled ground environment that only involves active participants (AU-STS 1)
  • Near a vertical object over a sparsely populated ground environment (AU-STS 2)
  • In a remote area within three nautical miles of a registered or certified non-controlled aerodrome (AU-STS 4)
  • Below 400 feet AGL in remote Australian airspace, that is defined by CASA as locations with very low population density and low risk of aircraft encounters (AU-STS 6)
  • above 400 feet AGL and up to 5000 feet AMSL in remote Australian airspace, that is defined by CASA as locations with very low population density and low risk of aircraft encounters (AU-STS 7).

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Why Department 13 believes CASA has adopted these scenarios:

These scenarios demonstrate CASA maturity within the drone industry.

  • Every BVLOS application has been treated individually regardless of its use case, content or similarities with other applications, which in turn has generated more work for CASA and people submitting.
  • Standard Scenarios enable applicants with similar and standardised use cases to meet a prescribed criterion, reducing the complexity of assessments and in turn speed up application reviews and approvals.
  • Covering a wide range of use cases will help applicants.
  • Guidance material is very helpful to make these more accessible to standard users and remove them from industry SMEs.

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