SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED QUALIFICATION: 

National Occupational Certificate: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Pilot 
SAQA QUAL ID QUALIFICATION TITLE
121161  National Occupational Certificate: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Pilot 
ORIGINATOR
Development Quality Partner-MICT SETA 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY NQF SUB-FRAMEWORK
-   OQSF - Occupational Qualifications Sub-framework 
QUALIFICATION TYPE FIELD SUBFIELD
National Occupational Cert  Field 10 - Physical, Mathematical, Computer and Life Sciences  Information Technology and Computer Sciences 
ABET BAND MINIMUM CREDITS PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL QUAL CLASS
Undefined  128  Not Applicable  NQF Level 04  Regular-ELOAC 
REGISTRATION STATUS SAQA DECISION NUMBER REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE
Registered  EXCO 0820/23  2023-11-14  2028-11-14 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2029-11-14   2032-11-14  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This qualification does not replace any other qualification and is not replaced by any other qualification. 

PURPOSE AND RATIONALE OF THE QUALIFICATION 
Purpose:
The purpose of this qualification is to prepare a learner to operate as a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) Pilot. A Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilot operate the start-up, lift-off, flight and set down of a remotely piloted aircraft system under 7kg.

A qualified learner will be able to:
  • Operate the lift-off of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.
  • Fly Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.
  • Land Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems.

    Rationale:
    As the Fourth Industrial Revolution reshapes how we live, work, and communicate, it is impacting government, education, healthcare, commerce and almost every aspect of life. Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) technology is at the heart of these changes and the development of the skills and knowledge to thrive in this environment has a great potential for job creation and poverty alleviation in South African communities. It will increase the potentiality of the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilots to be employed, while it will ensure the upward mobility of individuals with the entrepreneurial spirit to move confidently towards self-employment. This qualification is for people working in the RPAS industry. Typical learners are school-leavers as well as existing personnel working in the RPAS industry.

    The exponential growth for the use of an RPAS, which are also known as drones, for work and commercial purposes in industries such as emergency services, the police service, research, collection and surveying has led to a huge demand in the market for more qualified personnel to attend to various issues that arise with the usage and support for RPAS operations.

    RPAS are already being used as a business tool to access high, difficult or unsafe places and as a result, many sectors are ramping up their usage, using them for disaster management, infrastructure, agriculture, surveillance and resource purposes. RPAS are being considered to move freight and are even being used in a military sense.

    This qualification reflects the workplace-based needs of the RPAS environment in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) that are expressed by this growing upward trend in the market.

    Currently the RPAS repair environment is proliferated with individuals who are trained on the job without adequate formal qualifications, hence the need for a formal qualification on the NQF targeted at people who wish to join the RPAS industry, or those that are currently working in this industry as salespersons and repairers. They will be performing duties related to operating RPAS for disaster management, infrastructure, agriculture, surveillance, commercial, military, etc.

    This qualification will empower the learners with the required skills that will allow them to enter this market of RPAS with the skills and knowledge to work either in the sales stream or the technical stream. It will permit individuals to increase their employability or become self-employed by starting their own small businesses with a potential of employing others.

    Furthermore, the qualification will benefit societies by ensuring better quality services including environmental protection, efficient spraying of crops, crime prevention, medical lifesaving efficiency, transportation goods etc. The sector will benefit from Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilots with a set of competencies aligned to industry regulated standards for services. The economy will benefit from increased revenue due to increased employment opportunities and entrepreneurship due to emerging SMME's that will create employment and pay tax. The availability of suitably qualified Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilots will improve the safe working environment especially as these devices are in the close proximity of the public.

    Upon completion, the qualification will provide learners with opportunities for professional development and career advancement within the broader RPAS environment, including, RPAS Technician, Senior Pilots, Team Leaders, Master Pilots, Sales Officers, Sales Representatives, Senior Sales Representatives, RPAS Centre Managers, etc.

    There are no similar qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework (NQF) 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
    LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING
    Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL):
  • Learners will gain access to the qualification through RPL for Access as provided for in the QCTO RPL Policy. RPL for access is conducted by accredited education institution, skills development provider or workplace accredited to offer that specific qualification/part qualification.
  • Learners who have acquired competencies of the modules of a qualification or part qualification will be exempted from modules through RPL.
  • Learners will be awarded credits for or towards the qualification or part qualification through RPL as provided in the QCTO RPL Policy. RPL for credits provides for the formal award of credits for, or towards a qualification or part-qualification registered on the NQF.

    RPL for access to the external integrated summative assessment:
    Accredited providers and approved workplaces must apply the internal assessment criteria specified in the related curriculum document to establish and confirm prior learning. Accredited providers and workplaces

    Entry Requirements:
    The minimum entry requirement for this qualification is:
  • An NQF Level 3 with communication. 

  • RECOGNISE PREVIOUS LEARNING? 

    QUALIFICATION RULES 
    This qualification is made up of compulsory Knowledge, Practical Skill and Work Experience Modules:

    Knowledge Modules
  • 733211-001-00-KM-01 Workplace Fundamentals NQF Level 2, 2 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-02 Foundational Concepts for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilot NQF Level 4,
    4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-03 End User Computing, NQF Level 3, 2 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-04 Professional Conduct NQF Level 3, 2 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-05 Business Communication and Customer Services NQF Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-06 Entrepreneurship in the Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Industry NQF Level 4,
    4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-07 Information and Communication, NQF Level 4, 2 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-08 RPAS Aircraft Instrumentation and Systems NQF Level 4, 8 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-09 Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Schematic Diagrams NQF Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-10 Principles of Flight, Navigation and Meteorology NQF Level 5, 8 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-11 Fundamentals of RPAS: Hardware NQF Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-12 Fundamentals of RPAS: Software NQF Level 5, 4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-KM-13 Legislation and Guidelines that Governs a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilot NQF Level 4, 2 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Knowledge Modules: 48

    Practical Skill Modules
  • 733211-001-00-PM-01 Work Safely and Respond to Incidents, NQF Level 2, 2 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-PM-02 Use Tools and Equipment, NQF Level 3, 4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-PM-03 Calibrate and Test Instrumentation Equipment, NQF Level 3, 4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-PM-04 Plan a flight for an RPAS, NQF Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-PM-05 Set-up and dismantle an RPAS before and after a flight, NQF Level 4, 4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-PM-06 Fly an RPAS, NQF Level 4, 12 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-PM-07 Manage risks associated with an RPAS beyond visual line of sight, NQF Level 4,
    4 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-PM-08 Diagnose and Upgrade Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems: Software, NQF Level 5,
    8 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Practical Skill Modules: 42

    Work Experience Modules
  • 733211-001-00- WM-01 Calibrate Instrumentation Equipment for Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems, NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00- WM-02 Plan a Flight for an RPAS with Different Payloads and Contexts, NQF Level 4,
    8 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-WM-03 Set-up and Dismantle an RPAS to Ensure Compliance, NQF Level 4, 6 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00-WM-04 Fly an RPAS Under Various Conditions, NQF Level 4, 10 Credits.
  • 733211-001-00- WM-05 Diagnose and Upgrade of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems: Software, NQF
    Level 5, 8 Credits.

    Total number of credits for Work Experience Modules: 38 

  • EXIT LEVEL OUTCOMES 
    1. Demonstrate the ability to remove, upgrade and install software and firmware used for remotely Piloted aircraft systems according to manufacturer's specifications and procedures.
    2. Set up, dismantle and operate the lift off and landing of a remotely piloted aircraft system according to standard operating procedures and within legal parameters.
    3. Fly remotely piloted aircraft systems according to standard operating procedures and within legal parameters. 

    ASSOCIATED ASSESSMENT CRITERIA 
    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 1:
    ELO1: Demonstrate the ability to remove, upgrade and install software and firmware used for remotely Piloted aircraft systems according to manufacturer's specifications and procedures.
  • Prepare a safe working environment.
  • Install software or firmware.
  • Complete the installation within the given parameters.
  • Select and use the appropriate tools correctly and safely.
  • Source and correctly interpret technical information.
  • Adhere to all relevant safety and environmental criteria.
  • Restore the work area to its original condition and store tools safely.
  • Report and identify all defects.
  • Carry out the appropriate pre- and post-checks correctly.
  • Demonstrate the understanding of general principles and critical issues relating to component operations and functional specifications.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 2:
    ELO 2: Set up, dismantle, and operate the lift off and landing of a remotely piloted aircraft system according to standard operating procedures and within legal parameters.
  • Prepare asafe working environment.
  • Source and correctly interpret technical information.
  • Set-up and dismantle RPAS before and after a flight according to set parameters and within legal specifications.
  • The lift off and landing of RPAS is navigated within legal parameters.
  • Complete the task within the specified time.
  • Select and use the appropriate tools and equipment correctly and safely.
  • Adhere to all relevant safety and environment criteria.
  • Restore the work area to its original condition and tools safely.
  • Carry out correctly the appropriate pre- and post-checks.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of general principles and critical issues relating to component operations and functional specifications.

    Associated Assessment Criteria for Exit Level Outcome 3:
    ELO 3: Fly remotely piloted aircraft systems according to standard operating procedures and within legal parameters.
  • A safe working environment is assessed to be conducive to specified and legal requirement.
  • Sourcing and correctly interpreting technical information.
  • Fly an RPAS within the approved flight plan and legal parameters.
  • Complete the task within the specified time.
  • Select and use the appropriate tools and equipment are correctly and safely.
  • Adhere to all relevant safety and environmental criteria.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of general principles and critical issues relating to component operations and functional specifications.

    Integrated Assessment:
    Formative Assessment
    The Skills Development Providers will use the curriculum to guide them on the stipulated internal assessment criteria and weighting. They will also apply the scope of practical skills and applied knowledge as stipulated by the internal assessment criteria. This formative assessment leads to entrance into the integrated External Summative Assessment.

    Summative Assessment
    An External Integrated Summative Assessment, conducted through the relevant QCTO Assessment Quality Partner is required to issue this qualification. The external integrated summative assessment will focus on the exit level outcomes and associated assessment criteria.

    The external assessment will be conducted through written assessment and practical assessment at accredited assessment centres and assessment sites by registered assessors for a period not exceeding 1 days. 

  • INTERNATIONAL COMPARABILITY 
    The Occupational Certificate: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilot was compared to that of the foremost countries in RPAS technology and repairers, such as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and United States of America (USA). These countries offer comprehensive Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) qualifications that span across the disciplines in our qualification. RPAS are used and repaired all over the world, but these countries have been chosen as they have systems with most similar qualification structures to the Republic of South Africa (RSA).

    These qualifications focused on developing learners towards a wider range of related skill sets including, flying operation, launch and recovery systems and components. Learning programs and qualifications registered by a qualification's authority on a national qualifications' framework were selected for this comparison.

    UNITED ARAB EMIRATES (UAE):
    The International Aviation Technical College at Riyadh (IATC) offers 3 qualifications:
  • Associate Diploma in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Maintenance Engineering, 1 academic year.
  • Diploma in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Maintenance Engineering (Mechanical), 1 academic year.
  • Diploma in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Maintenance Engineering (Avionics), 1 academic year.
    International Aviation Technical College at Riyadh (IATC) offers these qualifications and is internationally recognised. These courses are for students who are interested in a career as an Unmanned Aerial Systems Pilot.

    The entry requirements for all these three qualifications are:
  • Be at least 18 years of age (or turning 18 during your first year of studies) or 17 years of age before the commencement of the first term.
  • Completion of a Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) or equivalent, which is Grade/Year 12.
  • The applicant must be a Saudi or from a Saudi mother.
  • The applicant must be a high school graduate within the past five years.
  • The applicant must complete the general aptitude test provided by the National Center for Measurement and Evaluation.
  • The applicant must complete the achievement test provided by the National Center for Measurement and Evaluation for Higher Education.

    These Qualifications which are made up of core standards and optional learning goals are as follows:

    1. Associate Diploma in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Maintenance Engineering.

    Core Curriculum/Syllabus:

    General units:
  • Mathematics.
  • Physics.
  • Electrical Fundamentals.
  • Electronics Fundamentals.
  • Human Factors.
  • Basic Aerodynamics.
  • Aircraft Materials and Hardware.
  • Maintenance Practices.
  • Introduction to UAS.
  • More information / Learning goals (optional).
  • Basic aviation technical skills and knowledge.
  • General Unmanned Aerial Systems knowledge.

    2. Diploma in Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) Maintenance Engineering (Mechanical).

    Core Curriculum/Syllabus:

    Mechanical pathway units:
  • UAS structures and systems.
  • Advanced powerplant and associated components.
  • Launch and recovery systems, components and operations.
  • Flying operations UAS (sim and practical).
  • More information / Learning goals (optional).
  • Advanced UAS skills and knowledge.
  • Advanced UAS skills and knowledge in operations and maintenance (Mechanical).

    3. Diploma in Unmanned Aircraft Systems Maintenance Engineering (Avionics).

    Core Curriculum/Syllabus (list):

    Avionics pathway units:
  • Digital techniques / electronic instruments.
  • Advanced avionics.
  • Advanced sensors and payloads.
  • Advanced flight control systems and autopilots.
  • Launch and recovery systems, components and operations.
  • Flying operations.

    More information / Learning goals (optional)
  • Advanced UAS skills and knowledge.
  • Advanced UAS skills and knowledge in operations and maintenance (Avionics).

    Similarities
    The UAE qualifications compares well with the South African qualification in essence it has similar skills sets which are comparable with the South African Qualification. It allows for learners to articulate to additional qualifications in similar or related occupations.

    Differences
    The three UAE qualifications covers a broader range of disciplines that spans across the South African qualification that is specialised and defined and fit for the South African market. The UAE qualification also has a broader approach to the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle environment and includes maintenance, which is not the case in the South African qualification.

    The South African qualification supports an industry-specific, fit-for-purpose approach. The generic, wide-reaching approach followed by the UAE does not provide sufficient recognition for the specialised nature of the RPAS Pilot and the labour market requirements for a RPAS Pilot in the Republic of South Africa.

    United States of America (USA).

    Northland Community and Technical College offers the following qualifications:
  • Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Pilot Credits 60.
  • Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Field Service Pilot Credits 34.

    These courses are for students who are interested in a career as a Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Pilot.

    The entry requirements for all two qualifications are:
  • Be at least 18 years of age.
  • There are various entries into the qualifications including a component that is built into the qualification to allow for entry.

    These Qualifications are made up of core standards and optional learning goals which are as follows:

    1. Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Pilot.

    (Core)
  • Basic Electricity.
  • Microcomputer Maintenance.
  • Job Seeking/Keeping 1.
  • Robotic Programming I.
  • Microcontrollers I.
  • Sensor Technology.
  • Motor Controls.
  • GIS Interoperability.
  • Remote Sensing.
  • Imagery Software/Mapping.
  • Foundations of UAS.
  • UAS Ground School.
  • UAS Lab.
  • Composition I.
  • Composition II.
  • Technical Writing.
  • Statistics.

    (Electives/optional)
  • GOAL AREA 1: Communication.
  • GOAL AREA 2: Critical Thinking.
  • GOAL AREA 3: Natural Sciences.
  • GOAL AREA 4: Math & Logic.
  • GOAL AREA 5: History & Social Science.
  • GOAL AREA 6: Humanities & Fine Arts.
  • GOAL AREA 7: Human Diversity.
  • GOAL AREA 8: Global Perspectives.
  • GOAL AREA 9: Ethical & Civic Responsibility.
  • GOAL AREA 10: People & Environment.

    2. Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems Field Service Pilot

    (Core)
  • Basic Electricity.
  • Microcomputer Maintenance.
  • Composition I.
  • Microcontrollers I.
  • Interoperability.
    Remote Sensing.
  • Imagery Software/Mapping.
  • Foundations of UAS.
  • UAS Ground School.
  • UAS Lab.

    Similarities
    The USA's qualifications compare well with the South African qualification in essence it has similar skills sets which are comparable with the South African Qualification. It allows for learners to articulate to additional qualifications in similar or related occupations.

    Differences
    The two USA qualifications covers a broader range of disciplines that span across the South African qualification that is specialised and defined and fit for the South African market. The USA's qualifications also have a strong focus on academic skills and knowledge as well as components of flight and avionics, which is not case in the South African qualification.

    The South African qualification supports an industry-specific, fit-for-purpose approach that meet the labour market requirements for a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilot in the Republic of South Africa.

    The USA's qualification's structure allows for an optional stream in generic academic knowledge whereas the South African qualification does not allow this.

    Conclusion
    The South African Qualification does however compare favourably with the UAE and the USA Qualifications as it holds similar skill sets.

    ARTICULATION OPTIONS
    This qualification provides opportunities for horizontal and vertical articulation options.

    Horizontal Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Design Thinking Innovation Lead, NQF Level 4.
  • Senior Certificate, NQF Level 4.

    Vertical Articulation:
  • Occupational Certificate: Software Tester, NQF Level 5.

    Diagonal Articulation
    Higher Certificate in Management of Technology and Innovation, NQF Level 5. 

  • ARTICULATION OPTIONS 
    This qualification provides opportunities for horizontal and vertical articulation options.

    Horizontal Articulation:
    Occupational Certificate: Design Thinking Innovation Lead, NQF Level 4.
    Senior Certificate, NQF Level 4.

    Vertical Articulation:
    Occupational Certificate: Software Tester, NQF Level 5.

    Diagonal Articulation
    Higher Certificate in Management of Technology and Innovation, NQF Level 5. 

    NOTES 
    Qualifying for External Assessment:
    To qualify for an external assessment, learners must provide proof of completion of all required modules by means of a statement of results and statement of work experience as well as proof of successful completion of the subjects and modules or alternative programmes where applicable.

    Additional Legal or Physical Entry Requirements:
  • The South African Civil Aviation Authority (SACAA) Regulations must be taken into consideration in the training and operation of Remotely Piloted Aircraft System.

    Criteria for the accreditation of providers

    The curriculum title and code are: Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems Pilot: 733211-001-00-00.

    Encompassed Trade:
  • This is not a trade qualification.

    Assessment Quality Partner (AQP)
  • The Media, Information and Communication Technologies Sector Education and Training Authority (MICTSETA)

    LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION
    None 

  • LEARNING PROGRAMMES RECORDED AGAINST THIS QUALIFICATION: 
     
    NONE 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS QUALIFICATION: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    NONE 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.