Management Committee

ACUO Management Committee (MC) is made up of 7 full members of the association elected annually by their peers.

The Management Committee meets regularly to make decisions on the strategies, policies & growth of the association, to discuss matters of importance to ACUO and its members, and to ensure the integrity of the association and its core values are being maintained.

The Management Committee members are:

President: Tom Pils (The Drone Lawyer)

Tom is a practising lawyer specialising in drone law. In addition to detailed knowledge of aviation law, Tom understands the surrounding legal issues including contracts, intellectual property, privacy, data, and dispute resolution. Tom’s background is in general commercial law and large-scale complex litigation. In the drone space, Tom has represented commercial drone operators in CASA investigations, advised on CASA Flight Authorisations, drafted Drone Services Agreements, and worked with insurance brokers on drone specific policies. Tom regularly speaks at conferences, on podcasts, and writes articles on legal aspects concerning drone operations with a view to providing clear and concise information to operators.

Secretary: Brad Mason (Helimetrex - QLD)

Brad was a marine Captain and Engineer for 20 years before exploring an alternative career in UAVs in 2001. As a co-founder of HELImetrex, he became the first certified UAV Operator in Australia in November 2002. Brad is a Chief Remote Pilot with hundreds of hours’ flight time on predominantly rotary UAVs, and a Chief UAV Maintenance Controller with thousands of hours’ experience in building & testing UA systems and associated equipment.

Secretary: Fiona Church (Hoverscape - NSW)

Fiona is an airline pilot with more than 16 years experience in the aviation industry, having flown manned aircraft in charter, regional, domestic and international operations. Fiona is a CASA certified flying instructor and founder of UAV operator Hoverscape, being their first Chief UAV Controller when they were established in 2013. Fiona is passionate about innovation in aviation, and the safe and effective integration of unmanned aerial vehicles into the industry.

MC Member: Mitchell Deam (Hoverscape)

Mitch is an experienced commercial airline pilot and UAS safety expert with over 20 years in the aviation industry. He has extensive experience operating a variety of both manned and unmanned aircraft across a broad range of commercial operations.

Mitch is the Director and Chief Compliance Officer at Trendspek – a drone data analysis and inspection software platform, is a CASA certified RPAS operator and is the Director of Operations and Safety for Hoverscape – a specialist drone inspection service. Mitch is passionate about safety, innovation and the effective integration of unmanned aerial systems into the Asset Management and Industrial Inspection sectors.

MC Member: Lauren Bagshaw- Flanagan (Flame Developments)

Lauren has more than 25 years of experience in senior management roles, over half of that being spent in the aviation industry in companies such as Babcock and Qantas, leading both manned and unmanned operational programs. Lauren is currently Managing Director of consultancy Flame Developments working with predominantly aviation clients on their business development and strategy.  She holds CASA remote, aeroplane and helicopter pilot licences and is passionate about safety management and emerging technologies and innovation in the aviation industry.


RPAS Training [chaired by Mike Manning]

  • This sub-committee was initiated following the public release of the CASA Draft MOS and the training standards being proposed.
  • The objective of this sub-committee was to review the broadening array of RPAS training options in development, including the draft MOS training standards, the Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot-VLOS) and the existing RePL training course delivered in the market.
  • Sub-committee members are assisting Australian Industry Standards with a review of the Certificate III syllabus, with improvements to training outcomes and new electives to cover specific industry sectors including; Infrastructure Inspections; SAR; aerial mapping; Aerial Application [chemical spraying]; and a new Certificate IV in BVLOS Operations.
  • The next task for this sub-committee is to run a comparison across the syllabus of the 2 main training pathways [RePL & Cert III] for expansions and improvements.

UTM [chaired by Joe Urli]

  • This sub-committee was borne from a desire to consolidate a wide variety of disparate developments in unmanned traffic management systems for Australia, and to assist federal and state regulators with their decision making relative to the future development of the RPA industry.
  • UTM is central to BVLOS operations, Cargo drones, Passenger drones and many related urban and city based RPA activities. It is important that we get UTM right, including the legislative, operational, financial and social issues with wider RPA use across the community.
  • There has been little or no leadership from federal or state regulators to date and our objective is to ensure the topic is discussed and agreed in an open and transparent manner.
  • The sub-committee is currently in discussions with senior aviation stakeholders to work collaboratively.
  • A cooperative group of aviation stakeholders is currently drawing together the expertise for a Forum to discuss the finer details of UTM and how it will function in the real world.

Aerial Application [chaired by Brad Mason]

  • This sub-committee was initiated out of a request to assist the sector with self-administration, something both CASA and state regulators had suggested to potential operators.
  • The sub-committee consists of experienced and approved operators in this sector, and is supported by state regulators and research authorities.
  • There are specific safety and environmental considerations with this activity which requires a thorough understanding of chemicals, aerial application and spray-drift effects & management.
  • The sub-committee is working with state regulators, research authorities and other stakeholders to develop a national standard for RPAS training, equipment and operations in RPAS Aerial Application.
  • The sub-committee has been providing qualified support to Australian Industry Standards (AIS) review of the Certificate III in Aviation (Remote Pilot-VLOS) and the development of a new elective unit of study in RPAS Aerial Application.
  • The sub-committee is currently working with state regulators and research authorities to develop the baseline technical and operational standards required to guide an increasingly varied market of aerial application RPA systems [many of them untested and with no requirement for testing in their own countries], and the remote pilots who operate them.