Licences for aerial spraying of agricultural chemicals

In Victoria, an Agricultural Aircraft Operator Licence (AAOL) is required by:

  • the operator of any business that provides an agricultural chemical aerial spraying service in Victoria
  • the operator of any business that employs pilots to carry out aerial spraying in Victoria
  • businesses that apply pest animal baits via aircraft (PCRL holders who apply pest animal baits via aircraft are also required to have completed the 1080 and PAPP user course).

A Pilot (Chemical Rating) Licence (PCRL) is required by pilots who:

  • conduct agricultural chemical spraying for a business in Victoria
  • apply pest animal baits via aircraft (PCRL holders who apply pest animal baits via aircraft are also required to have completed the 1080 and PAPP user course).

If an Agricultural Aircraft Operator is also a pilot, then both an AAOL and a PCRL are required. The combined fee for both licences as at 1 July 2021 is $961.90 (64 Fee Units as per the Monetary Units Act 2004), which is exempt from the GST.

Records of use

As with ground-based agricultural chemical applications, aerial applicators of agricultural chemicals must:

  • make records of use within 48 hours of using a product
  • keep these records for a minimum of two years.

Agricultural Aircraft Operator Licence (AAOL)

To qualify for an Agricultural Aircraft Operator Licence (AAOL) an applicant must:

The applicant must also provide information on any previous convictions under any of the following Acts:

Interstate AAOLs are not recognised in Victoria. Any person wishing to operate an aerial spraying business in Victoria requires an Agricultural Aircraft Operator Licence issued by Agriculture Victoria.

The AAOL application fee as at 1 July 2021 is $841.65 and the licence is valid for three years.

Download the form:

Pilot (Chemical Rating) Licence (PCRL)

To qualify for a Pilot (Chemical Rating) Licence (PCRL), an applicant must:

  • hold a current Commercial Pilot (Aeroplane or Helicopter) Licence, or
  • hold a current Air Transport Pilot (Aeroplane or Helicopter) Licence endorsed with an Agricultural Pilot (Aeroplane or helicopter) Rating Grade 1 or 2 under the Civil Aviation Act 1988 of the Commonwealth of Australia

and

  • have either Operation SpraySafe Accreditation, or
  • have passed the appropriate examination required by the Agriculture Victoria

The applicant must also provide information on any previous convictions under any of the following Acts:

Interstate PCRLs from participating state and territories are recognised in Victoria. For more information visit the automatic mutual recognition and chemical use licensing page.

The PCRL application fee as at 1 July 2021 is $338.15 and the licence is valid for three years.

Download the form:

PCRL holders who apply pest animal baits via aircraft are also required to have completed the 1080 and PAPP user course. For more information visit the 1080 and PAPP training licences and permits page.

Responsibilities of the pilot

When applying agricultural chemicals by air, a pilot is legally responsible for ensuring that:

  • specified chemical use records are made and kept
  • spray drift doesn't injuriously affect any plants or stock outside the target area
  • spray drift doesn't injuriously affect any land outside the target area so that growing plants or keeping stock on that land can be reasonably expected to result in contaminated plants or stock derived from that land
  • each spray nozzle used in the aerial spraying equipment is fitted with an operating leak-proof cut-off valve
  • notification requirements are complied with.

One or more of the following methods must be used immediately before and during aerial spraying to provide the pilot with an accurate indication of the weather conditions at the target area:

  • a smoke-generating device used at ground level at or near the point of spraying
  • a smoke-generating device fitted to the aircraft
  • a windsock operating and is clearly visible to the pilot at ground level at or near the point of spraying
  • an automatic weather station located at or near the point of spraying, and information about the wind speed and direction is available to the pilot
  • a ground-based person located near the point of spraying who uses equipment to measure the wind speed and direction and who has continuous radio communication with the pilot before and during spraying.

Remotely piloted aircraft

New technology is now available that enables remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to conduct aerial spraying.

To cater for this new technology, special licence categories under Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) and Agriculture Victoria exist to authorise and regulate the piloting, spraying and business operations of RPA.

Regulation of aerial spraying from remotely piloted aircraft

Additional requirements apply to persons undertaking aerial spraying from remotely piloted aircraft in Victoria. Aerial spray from remotely piloted aircraft must:

  1. Not be conducted before sunrise or after sunset; and
  2. Only be conducted if the approved label of the agricultural chemical product or permit specifies the use to be undertaken by aerial spraying or spot spraying, and instructions for aerial spraying or spot spraying in relation to that use are complied with, including any water rates; and Note: Spot spraying instructions are alternatively described as ‘high volume spraying’ and can be accompanied by instructions for application by ‘knapsack’ or ‘handgun'.
  3. Not be conducted using ultra-low volume application technique or concentrate application technique unless the approved label for the agricultural chemical product or permit provides directions for the use of these techniques by aerial spraying;
  4. Be undertaken in accordance with the wind speed parameters specified on the approved label of the agricultural chemical product or permit. If the approved label of the agricultural chemical product or permit does not specify wind speed parameters, aerial spraying must only be conducted when the wind speed is greater than 3km/hr and less than 13km/hr at the time and place of application.

Victorian and interstate operators must also comply with all applicable CASA regulations when piloting RPA for aerial spraying.

AAOL for remotely piloted aircraft

You must have an Agricultural Aircraft Operator Licence (AAOL) that specifically authorises aerial spraying from RPA if you:

  • provide aerial spraying services from an RPA, or
  • employ pilots to carry out aerial agricultural spraying from RPA
  • in any other case operate (own, lease, borrow) RPA that carry out aerial spraying.

The RPA AAOL application fee as at 1 July 2021 is $841.65 and the licence is valid for three years.

Download the form:

AAOL conditions for RPA use

Specific licence conditions apply to AAOLs that authorise RPA operations for aerial spraying as follows:

  1. Use must be in accordance with the holder’s CASA operations manual.
  2. The RPA must be operated in accordance within RPA Standard Operating Conditions as described by Regulation 101.238 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.
  3. Despite section 2 above, a pilot operating under this licence may undertake aerial spraying with up to five RPA simultaneously if approved by CASA to do so.
  4. Chemical products must not be applied before sunrise or after sunset.
  5. The RPA must be under 150kg gross weight.
  6. Autonomous operation is prohibited (autonomous operation is where there is no ability for the pilot to intervene in the conduct of the flight).
  7. Nozzles must NOT be positioned outside of the rotation of the propeller tips.
  8. Nozzles must be equally spaced.
  9. The RPA must have active pump and nozzle shut off systems.

PCRL for remotely piloted aircraft

Any person who pilots an RPA to carry out aerial spraying in Victoria must hold a Pilot (Chemical Rating) Licence (PCRL) issued under the Agricultural and Veterinary Chemicals (Control of Use) Act 1992, which specifically authorises aerial spraying from a RPA.

The RPA PCRL application fee as at 1 July 2021 is $338.15 and the licence is valid for three years.

Download the form:

PCRL conditions for RPA use

  1. Specific licence conditions apply to PCRLs authorising RPA use for aerial spraying as follows:Chemical products may only be applied by remotely piloted aircraft (RPA).
  2. The RPA must be operated in accordance within RPA Standard Operating Conditions as described by Regulation 101.238 of the Civil Aviation Safety Regulations 1998.
  3. Despite point 2 above, the pilot may undertake aerial spraying with up to five RPA simultaneously if approved by the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) to do so.
  4. The RPA must be under 150kg gross weight.
  5. Autonomous operation is prohibited (autonomous operation is where there is no ability for the pilot to intervene in the conduct of the flight).
  6. Use must be in accordance with the CASA operations manual of Agricultural Aircraft Operator Licence under which the pilot is operating.
  7. Nozzles must not be positioned outside of the rotation of the propeller tips.
  8. Nozzles must be equally spaced.
  9. The RPA must have active pump and nozzle shut off systems.

More information

If you have questions or concerns about the spraying of chemicals from any aircraft, call our Customer Contact Centre on 136 186.

If you have any general questions or concerns about the operation of aircraft or RPA, contact CASA on 131 757.

Page last updated: 16 Dec 2021