Sky’s the limit for SWCC

The South West Catchments Council (SWCC) is Australia’s first regional NRM organisation to be awarded an RPA Remote Operator’s Certificate (ReOC) by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

SWCC was issued with its ReOC on Thursday, 9 August 2018 under Section 101.335 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.

The ReOC gives SWCC authority to fly drones, for commercial or business purposes, and puts SWCC in the pilot’s seat to respond to soaring demand for professional, drone operation services across the South West.

SWCC CEO and Chief Pilot, Steve Ewings, said SWCC was gearing-up to provide multispectral agricultural imaging, as well as, thermal and survey-grade aerial services to local government and private industry.

He described drone technology as a ‘highly-innovative, game changer’ for sustainable agriculture and environmental management.

“Drones will play an important role in precision agriculture and could be a critical component of food security into the future,” Mr Ewings said.

“They will also become a significant addition to the environmental conservation toolbox.”

SWCC is currently using drones to monitor areas of rehabilitated vegetation and capture images and videos to document changes in the local landscape due to environmental management practices.

“We are also working with Western Diary to evidence results of their pasture trials in Dardanup and Boyanup,” Mr Ewings said.

“Looking forward, we are excited about the opportunity to work with organisations who are ready to change the way they do business!”

As SWCC’s Chief Pilot, with a commercial Remote Pilot Licence (RePL), Mr Ewings is authorised to fly drones with a takeoff weight of more than two kilograms.

SWCC also has two specially-trained, inhouse pilots authorised to fly drones with a takeoff weight under two kilograms.

Both pilots are set to undertake further training over the coming months to achieve RePL certification.


Attention teachers! Have you considered integrating drone training into your Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) curriculum? Do you want to encourage more girls to choose STEM careers? Find out more at

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