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RPAS Operators Certificate

​To initiate the process, the potential operator shall submit a "Letter of intent". Click Forms tab on the right for more to access a form. 


Commercial Operations:  

Air Service License (ASL) issued by the Air Service License Council (which resides at the Department of Transport). Even though ASL is a pre-requisite before issuance of an ROC, both application processes (ASL and ROC) may run concurrently. 

Corporate and Non-profit Operations:  



Application process 

The Applicant will have to follow the 5 Phase process. 

Phase 1:

  • The applicant submits a "Letter of Intent" (CA101-02) to the SACAA (FOD) Flight Operations Department: Part 101.
  • Pre-application meeting scheduled and held
  • For commercial operations, the applicant will be referred to the Department of Transport to apply for a Domestic Air Service License (ASL) at the Air Service Licensing Council.
  • The applicant will need to submit the relevant ASL application form which can be downloaded off the Department of Transport website as well as the required documents. Regarding "aircraft" documents, one only needs to submit the Certificate of Registration and proof of insurance. Should the applicant not yet be insured, this can be a letter from an insurance company stating what insurance will be activated once the ROC has been issued and the aircraft is being operated. Part 101 requires the applicant to be "adequately insured for third party liability". As per the Act, third party liability needs to be a minimum of R500 000 per aircraft.
  • The post holders required are: Accountable Manager/CEO

Person Responsible: Flight Operations (Ideally have some experience in flying operations and hold a RPL)
Person Responsible: Aircraft (Ideally have some experience in flying operations and maintenance experience)
Safety Manager (to have completed an aviation safety management course)
Quality Manager (experience/training in a quality system)
Security Manager – this post is optional for the application and can be combined with one of the above posts, eg: safety manager

   *** Depending on the size and complexity of your operation, the above posts may be combined, however, it is recommended that safety and quality remain independent ***

  • In order to operate commercially, the applicant requires a Class III license, Category A4 (fixed wing), H1 (multi-rotor) and H2 (helicopter) and type of operations approved for G16 (other: RPAS) as well as any additional G-codes applicable to the intended operation.
  • Other processes which can take place at this time:
    • Registration of aircraft (needed for ASL application)
    • Application for Remote Pilots License (RPL) once the pilot meets all the requirements as per Part 101.

Phase 2:

  • Once the applicant has submitted his/her ASL application to the Air Service License Council, the Licensing council will publish the application in the Government Gazette for 21 days. After the 21 days have lapsed, the applicant will be invited to the council. It is recommended that the applicant commences this process as soon as possible.
  • Once the ASL application has been submitted, the applicant can commence the Formal Application by submitting form CA101-10: the POPS form, to the SACAA.
  • Once received and reviewed by the SACAA, the applicant will be invited to attend a formal application meeting with the relevant personnel at SACAA. Depending on the application, the formal meeting may, at the discretion of the inspector, be conducted via telephone and/or email correspondence.
  • The purpose of this meeting is to discuss the application process and resolve any omissions and/or discrepancies and to answer any questions from either party. This meeting shall encourage open communication and an effective working relationship between both parties.
  • The applicant will be notified in writing whether the formal application has been rejected or accepted. If the formal application is rejected, a full explanation will be provided to the applicant.


Phase 3:

  • Once the formal application has been accepted, the applicant will need to submit the required manual, the Operations manual to the CAA for approval with form CA101-03: "Application for a ROC".
  • The applicant may also submit form CA101-01: "Application for the RLA" with the required documents.
  • The CAA will complete a thorough review of the manuals
  • If a manual is incomplete or deficient, or if non-compliance with the regulation or safe operating procedures is detected, the manual will be returned for corrective action.
  • If the manuals are satisfactory, they will be "approved" or "accepted" as required by the regulations.
  • A fully completed Statement of Compliance must be included within the manuals submitted.

Phase 4:

  • After approval or acceptance has been given to all the required documentation, the applicant will enter the "Demonstration and Inspection phase".
  • In this phase, the applicant will need to demonstrate its ability to comply with regulations, the company operations manual and safe operating practices.
  • The demonstration and inspection phase includes onsite evaluations of all policies, procedures, methods and instructions as described by the regulation and operations manual.
  • Depending on the intended operations, the inspector may specify what he/she would like to see demonstrated.
  • The demonstration is particularly important for those operators applying for "Approvals from the Director", for example: to operate at night.


Phase 5:

  • After the document compliance and demonstration and inspection phase has been completed satisfactorily and the applicant has received the required ASL, the applicant will be issued with a RPAS Operating Certificate (ROC) as well as the Operational Specifications (Ops Spec).
  • The Ops Spec will contain authorizations, limitations and provisions applicable to the operation.
  • The certificate holder is responsible for continued compliance with the regulations, authorizations, limitations and provisions of its certificate and operational specifications.
  • The CAA is responsible for conducting periodic inspections of the operator's operation to ensure continued compliance with the regulations and safe operating procedures.



If an applicant is in position of a valid Class III license, Category A4 - Type G16, G4 or as applicable to the operation, he/she may begin the process from Phase 2. 

What is issued at the end?  

  • RPAS Operators Certificate  
  • Operations Specification (Ops Spec) 
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