CAA PfCO Training Process - COPTRZ

What is a CAA/PfCO drone licence?

A PfCO is essentially the closest thing there is to a ‘drone licence’. It is granted by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and allows a drone operator to use a small unmanned aircraft (SUA) under a weight of 20kg for commercial projects.

If you are simply a hobbyist, you need not worry about receiving a PfCO. If however, you plan on using your drone for commercial gain, then you are required to undertake a CAA PfCO training course and receive your permissions.

Our 5 step guide will take you through the process of selecting your provider, and receiving your permissions for commercial operations.

1. Find a recognised training provider

It’s important you find a recognised provider that offers the right service for you and your needs. It’s key you select the right provider to ensure you receive the best training possible, and in turn, the best qualification possible to allow you to fly your drone commercially.  In addition to your PfCO, COPTRZ can also separately provide you with an academically registered qualification under OFQUAL (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) as a Level 4 award. That means if you choose COPTRZ for your PfCO, you’ll have the option to receive a vocational Level 4 award recognised across the board by employers in many sectors, representing a standard between an A-level and a degree (ONC/HNC level). This qualification is available as an additional extra.

The COPTRZ course takes place over 4 days:

  • Days 1 & 2 – Ground School: This is the theory side of the course that’s split into a number of modules. Once this is complete, you will undertake your first of two exams, the theory exam.
  • Day 3 – Preplanning and Ops Manual review: The third day of the course covers everything you need to do to plan for a live job. It will also offer you an insight into getting your commercial drone business off the ground. The trainer will also offer support on the operation manual template which will be supplied to you before the course.
  • Day 4 – The Flight Test: You can complete your flight assessment on the fourth day of the course if you feel confident in your drone flying abilities. The flight assessment is included is included in the cost of the course and can be rearranged for a later date if required.

2. Selecting your location and booking your place

Once you’ve selected your drone licence provider, the next step is to select a location to take your course. COPTRZ offer 12 different drone training locations throughout the UK. Obtain your CAA permission for commercial operations in Edinburgh, Hampshire, Barnsley, Cardiff, Brighton, Belfast, Rugby, Kent, Middlesbrough, Aberdeen, Norfolk and Leeds.

Once you’ve selected the location of your course, you can place your booking either online or by calling us on 0330 111 7177 and one of our dedicated sales team can talk you through the process and get you booked on.

3. The Operations Manual

Once you have placed your booking you will receive all your pre-course readings, and this includes the Operations Manual.

The operations manual is a vital part of your application. It essentially outlines how you are going to use your drone commercially and what safety measures you will have in place during commercial operations

The operations manual is required by the CAA and needs to be completed by you as the pilot in command. Completing your operations manual right the first time is important to ensure you get your PfCO as quickly as possible.

4. Pass your theory and flight tests

Once you’ve been through the Ground School stage of the course you will complete your theory test. This is a multiple choice question paper and is based around your learnings over the first 2 days. It’s important you pass, as without this you cannot receive your permissions.

Once your Operations Manual has been submitted and your preflight checks have all been completed, you will then be able to take part in your flight tests. You will have plenty of opportunities for practice prior to your flight test, and if you fail you are allowed an immediate resit, free of charge.

We have created a useful guide showing you some of the best manoeuvres that you can practice ahead of your flight test that you may be tested on.

5. Submitting your application to the CAA

Once you have passed your theory and flight test, and in turn passed the COPTRZ CAA training course all your paperwork and your application, with our recommendation will be submitted to the CAA. The CAA charge an application fee that is not part of your course fee, once this has been paid you will receive your PfCO.

Once you have your drone licence you are free to go and fly your drone commercially and set up your drone business. There are many opportunities for drone pilots in a number of different industries ranging from surveying to cinematography and photography, so find your niche, and go and show the world your skills!

Have we answered all your questions? If not get in touch and we'll answer your queries.