Frequently Asked Questions

Below you will some of our frequently asked questions.  Please click on the question to expand the answer.

A RPL is a Commercial License issued by The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) allowing the holder to operate a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) for financial gain.

The Theoretical Course is 5 days which is offered online once a month as per our course schedule.  Thereafter examinations need to be completed which is dependent on the student’s own schedule and dedication. The practical part of the course is another 10 days, but this is scheduled according to the student’s own time and preference. The average completion time for the RPL is 4-6 weeks

SACAA stands for South African Civil Aviation Organisation. This is South Africa’s regulator of all areas related to civil aviation.

There are 14 modules covered in the theory part of the course but exams are only written on the following subjects:

  • Air Law,
  • Aircraft General & Principles of Flight,
  • Meteorology,
  • Human Factors and
  • Navigation.
  • The Flight Planning module consists of a Practical Assignment.

The Radio exam is a SACAA online exam and this exam is written at an approved SACAA exam Centre.  We arrange the booking of this exam once the candidate is ready.

The pass mark for all the exams are 75%.  A student may re-write the exams if failed however additional charges are applicable for the Radio exam at R500 per attempt.

We have 3 Training Fields, one in Cape Town, Johannesburg and Durban.

  1. Cape Town – Stellenbosch
  2. Johannesburg – Centurion
  3. Durban – The Bluff

Each lesson is a 2-hour session.  We allow for 6 Training sessions with an instructor as well as a final “pre-test” lesson which is called the Letter of Recommendation Flight.  Once this is complete the instructor will issue a letter of recommendation for the student to complete the final test with the Designated Examiner appointed by the SACAA.

Language proficiency is a standard introduced by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to measure the level of the understanding of English among aviators.

Students can supply a Matric certificate or similar qualification in order to confirm English language proficiency.  If necessary, a language proficiency exam may be required.  This is a simple verbal assessment that takes less than an hour.  Drone-X will make the necessary arrangements should this be required.

A Class 3 medical is required which is issued by an aviation medical Doctor. The medical cost is not included in the RPL Course Fee.  There is a list of Doctors available on the SACAA Website and can also be provided by us.

The medical should ideally be done prior to starting the RPL course.

The RPL allows a person to work as a commercial Drone / RPAS pilot.  The pilot is however required to do commercial work under the authorisation of a RPAS Operationg Certificate (ROC) holder.

A ROC is a RPAS Operating Certificate and is a license that a company needs to apply for in order to do RPAS commercial work legally.

A ROC application can take 18 – 24 months to complete. For more information on this contact:   Karen Mare –

In order to do commercial work as a RPAS / Drone Pilot the SACAA requires both licenses to be in place.  If you are caught not having the required license you may be liable for fines.  Please visit – under the legislation section Part 185 Section 3 for detailed information on the fines that may be issued.