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Nicole Swart has become the first pilot to be issued with a licence for remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS). The licence was issued on 10 July 2015 making Swart the first pilot to be issued with this licence in South Africa, the continent, and most parts of the world as many countries are still striving to come up with regulations to administer RPAS.

The director of the Civil Aviation Authority, Poppy Khoza, issued Swart with her the licence following the introduction of relevant regulations at the start of July.

Swart is also a holder of the highest pilot’s licence, the Airline Transport Pilot’s Licence (ATPL). When not flying remotely piloted aircraft or traditional manned aircraft, the 23-year-old works as a testing standards officer in the Aviation Personnel Standards department of SACAA.

Khoza said the SACAA was also looking forward to issuing the first RPAS operating licence for commercial activities; adding the number of applications received for commercial operations was far less than anticipated.

South Africa is one of a handful of countries around the world to have introduced comprehensive regulations to guide RPAS operations.

RocketMine has submitted their application to become a CAA Authorised commercial operator of RPAS and is awaiting feedback.

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