The below info relates to spray drones that are more than 25kg when filled with liquid (e.g. DJI T30), and used on your own property (different rules apply if you are spraying other people’s properties as a commercial business).
No licence is needed for lighter-weight spray drones
If your spray drone is rated to under 25kg such as the DJI T10 being 24.8 kg, and you are only using it on your own property, you can skip steps 3 and 4 below - you do not need a Remote Pilot Licence (RePL) or Flight test.
1. Get an ARN
Get an Aviation Reference Number (ARN) from CASA. It’s like a passport number for pilots and drone pilots. Start the process on this CASA webpage
No fee and easy process. Note if you are a manned aircraft pilot (e.g. have a helicopter or crop duster on your property) you will already have an ARN.
2. Get a regular 0-7kg RePL (this is the standard drone licence)
It is normally sold as 5 days – 4 days learning online from home and 1 day (with the other students ) doing the flying test and theory test at a park / open space.
Approx. $1,300.0 - 1,800.0 (depending on the training company).
You can just fly a small drone such as a Mini 3, Air 2S or Phantom 4 as training for, and during the course. If you don't have one, some training companies offer to supply one for the day as part of the course fee. But note you will need to practice beforehand so best to borrow one or buy one before your course
3. Take delivery of your spray drone and register it with CASA
After you take delivery, register your spray drone with CASA, here is the myCASA page to register your drone.
$40.0 and valid for 12 months. 1 min video showing how to do it.
After you have your REPL done, and have booked in and paid for your flight test, you can start flying your spray drone on your own property in order to build up some flying hours as training for the flight test. You should ask CASA about this beforehand ( [email protected] ).
4. Get a 150 kg license upgrade (effectively a flight test to get your Type Rating for the T40/30)
This license 'upgrade' brings your REPL rating up to the 150 kg category. The T30 for example weighs 76.5 kg when fully loaded.
This involves a CASA inspector observing you flying your spray drone and checking that you are able to fly it safely. CASA charges $160.0/hr and would normally be on your property (or another property that you may prefer) for about 1.5 hrs + travel time. Regarding travel time, CASA will not disadvantage clients for CASA not having staff in a particular region. They only charge travel time from either the nearest CASA office or the nearest regional office.
To book your flight test with CASA, email them the request on [email protected] . You will need to have your REPL completed first. After sending the email you will go into a queue with Casa's system, they will reply and allocate you to an inspector who will assess you (do your flight test).
When CASA get back to you to confirm your flight test was successful, you are all set to go!
BTW, The maximum takeoff weight (MTOW) for each model is as follows. Casa will ask for this when you book it.
T30: 76.5 kg
T40: 101.0 kg
Note, you should also consider what chemicals licences you may need. These licences are nothing to do with CASA and requirements vary for each state. Please check out this article for full details.