What you need to know about becoming a Pilot/Escort Operator
The Pilot/Escort Industry is currently going through some big changes which will take a few years to fully implement. The National Heavy Vehicle Regulator (NHVR or The Regulator) came into effect on the 21st January 2014, their job is to Harmonise the Heavy Transport Industry and that is to bring into line all the regulations in every state who signs up to the agreement.
Currently every State and Territory has different requirements for Oversize Loads and Accreditations of Pilot/Escort Drivers, this is currently under consideration and a standardised Accreditation System will be put into place in the very near future.
Until then, to obtain information about the requirements to becoming a Pilot and Pilot/Escort Driver visit the NHVR Website which will give you all the information that you require
If you intend to operate all over Australia as a Pilot/Escort Driver, at the moment (2020) it is best to obtain WA & Vic Accreditations or for the east coast only operations - QLD (you will need a Vic Traffic Control Accreditation to operate in Vic) or Vic (Level 2) Accreditation.
Suggestions in setting up a Pilot Business
Becoming a Pilot/Escort Driver requires a bit of thought and consideration, here are some helpful tips on getting started.
If you are lucky enough to be employed by a Company that uses their own Pilot/Escort Drivers and vehicles, then skip Paras 1 - 5.
1. Discuss with a reputable Pilot/Escort Service Provider as to the viability,
2. Do a Business Plan,
3. Talk to your Accountant about which is the best way to setup and operate;
a. Sole Trader or Business or Company (pros and cons),
b. Banking, Invoicing, Purchases, Accounting Practices, etc,
c. Who's going to do your Bookkeeping (you, your wife, your partner, bookkeeper, accountant, etc),
4. Means of Communications, e.g.,
a. mobile phone - for taking job bookings and general communications,
b. laptop, notebook - emails, web access for road & route information, electronic record keeping such as Guides, Permits, Invoicing, etc.,
5. If you already own a vehicle, assess;
a. will it be suitable for the work you are planning, e.g., working on the bitumen or driving offroad out to the mines, etc,
b. is it going to be reliable, free of breakdowns, 50-80,000 kms plus each year is a regular mileage for pilots,
c. fuel is going to be a big expense - diesel and petrol/gas are the preferred (gas is becoming scarce out in the country areas),
d. if you are going to be on the road for days at a time, is the vehicle big enough to live out of, otherwise consider a another vehicle,
6. If you are going to be away overnight or more, consider setting up living quarters in the vehicle, cheaper than staying in a Motel or Caravan
Parks every night. There may be occasions that you are not anywhere near accommodation and meals, best to start off with the basics and
add as you go. To fully set up an existing vehicle could cost over $5,000, depending on your needs,
7. If you are operating as a Sole Trader/Business/Company, you may not get paid for jobs completed up to 30 days, sometimes more! This
will mean that you will need some financial reserves to pay for operating costs up to 60 - 90 days (this could be up to $5.000)
All Systems are go
8. Contact an RTO (if required) and book your course. The NPVDA highly recommends that every pilot be Accredited.
11. Once you have completed your Training, head to your transport authority with your;
Statement of Attendance,
and register for your Pilots Accreditation, the transport authority will carry out the following checks before your Accreditation can be issued;
Criminal History check,
Driving History check,
10. Register your vehicle as a Commercial Vehicle (if required),
11. Advise your vehicle Insurer as to the operational purpose of your vehicle,
12. Arrange for Public Liability Insurance, $20 million cover is the norm (which should include Traffic Control),
Up and Running
13. If you don't have any customer/s, register yourself with a reputable Pilot/Escort Provider, ring around and ask other Pilots who is the
best to work for.
14. Consider joining the NPVDA, this Association keeps you up to date with the latest in regulation changes and also represents you at the various