Commercial UAV Pilot Training

Training locations all over UK

CAA National Qualified Entity

For small businesses

large enterprises and other organisations

Welcome to the UAV Academy

The UAV Academy is a CAA approved National Qualified Entity (NQE) for the training and assessment of pilots of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) up to 20kg. We are here to help put you on your path to safe and rewarding commercial drone operations. The syllabus for this training is set by the CAA. Successful completion of our course culminates in our recommendation to the CAA for you to be issued with a Permission For Commercial Operations (PfCO).

The UAV Academy was established to serve the training needs of the rapidly growing unmanned aircraft industry through classroom and flight skills coaching for the professional UAV pilot. Our mission is to help drone pilots acquire the knowledge and skills needed to operate effectively, safely and legally by providing training that is professional, engaging and ultimately rewarding.


National Qualified Entity

Man flying a drone holding a control transmitter

What We Offer

Our CDP-C™ course includes two days of theory training (Ground School), full support for the creation of your Operations Manual, and a practical Flight Operations Assessment. We run Ground Schools at locations all over the UK and have seven flight training and assessment centres.  The UAV Academy Training Centre, in the control tower at Cotswold Airport, sets a very high standard and is a fantastic place to train. We are proud to have instructors with extensive experience of working in the commercial UAV industry.

We offer flight training ranging from basic flying skills right through to advanced skills training for professional pilots wanting to be able to deliver exceptional results to their customers. We have seven Flight instructors located around the UK and can provide training using either our own drones or yours. Call us and ask about a convenient date and location that suits you.

If you hold a UK pilots license you are able to take advantage of our abbreviated course to gain your CDP-C™ and PfCO.  We also run Night Operations courses to allow you to add this to your existing PfCO.

We are able to tailor our PfCO training course to meet the needs of individual organisations or types of operation. Training may be delivered in-house and can reflect the specific needs of the organisation and its UAV pilots. Call our helpful team, we’d be delighted to discuss a package that works for you.

The PfCO Process

Pre-Course Learning

When you enrol on our PfCO course we post to you a high quality printed Course Handbook which covers the subjects you will be taught during your Ground School. We also email you with login details so that you can access our Online Learning System where we have a few more important documents available for you to read. The more you can study before you arrive for your Ground School the easier and more enjoyable you will find your two days with us in the classroom.

Ground school

You will spend two days in a classroom with one of our highly experienced instructors. The syllabus for the Ground School is set by the CAA and they require  you to have  a good knowledge in all the subjects as this is considered essential to ensuring safe UAV operations complying with CAA regulations. We aim to provide the knowledge you need in a both an enthusiastic and engaging way. At the end of the two days you will sit a Multiple Choice Examination.

Operations Manual

The Operations Manual is a very important document and it is crucial  that it is well-written and that you are familiar with the contents. The standard approach is for you to use the CAA Template to create your Manual which we then review, give you feedback and ultimately approve. Many people do not have the time or experience to write their own Operations Manual, so we offer a optional service where we create for you an Operations Manual based on information you provide via an online form. Once created you can then edit your Operations Manual to reflect your branding and fine tune the procedures you intend to follow.

Flight Operations Assessment

Everything you have learnt on Ground School and the procedures you set out in your Operations Manual come to together for the last part of the course which is a Flight Operations Assessment (FOA). This takes place at a location convenient to you and on a date you agree with your examiner. The FOA will take the form of an imaginary client request for Aerial Work. We will send you a client brief, with details about the location and what you are being asked to do. You will need to demonstrate to the Examiner that you are capable of operating using the procedures set out in your Operations Manual and that you, as Pilot-in-Command, have the flying skills necessary to conduct the flight competently and safely whilst operating within the rules and regulations laid down by the CAA. On successful completion of your FOA we help you to complete your application to the CAA for a PfCO and we submit all documents to the CAA on your behalf together with our Recommendation. CONGRATULATIONS!

Relative time required

  • Pre-Course Study
  • Ground School
  • Operations Manual
  • Flight Operations Assessment

Next Ground School at Cotswold Airport on the 8th & 9th May








What our customers are saying

I’m able to compare your service with one of your competitors and your service was far superior. Your course handbook was great and I was not overloaded with useless PDF’s to print out myself. Your competitors notes were not as detailed as yours; yours were more to the point. Having the option to take my practical examination at multiple destinations including one just 7 miles away from me was a huge benefit. You have surpassed my expectations of what I expected, thank you.

Jon Nash

Jon Nash Photography

Excellent.. a totally enjoyable course, which was very interesting and informative. The staff were more than helpful, and keen to assist at all stages…. I highly recommend UAV Academy, and to be totally honest, I can not think of anything you should change!… Probably the best training course I have attended in my 31 year career…. Thank you

Mark Dobson

Alpine Surveys

See more of what our customers have to say about us on our Testimonial Page

Professionals from the outset. I recommend UAV Academy to anyone who wants a thorough and extensive training in UAV Operations

Ed Robinson

OneRedEye Visual Communications

The best course I have ever been on

Trevor Fields

TGF Photography

Frequently Asked Questions

We understand that gaining your Commercial Drone Qualification and a CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) is a serious undertaking. You will be investing a significant amount of both money and time, so we feel it is very important that you fully understand the process, the options and what will be required of you.

On the right you will see a few of the most common questions we are asked. If you have any other questions please contact us by phone on 01285 610038, by email to, or via our Facebook Page. We love to talk with our customers, so please get in touch.

Why do I need a commercial drone pilots licence?

If you are only going to be flying your drone for fun then you do not need a license, or more accurately a CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). However, if you intend to use your drone for any sort of commercial purpose then you need to have a PfCO otherwise you will be breaking the law.

How long does it take?

This depends entirely upon the level of experience you already have. If you have never flown a drone before you will need to develop the necessary skills to be able to fly safely before you will be granted a PfCO. We have had a few people complete the course within a week, but most take around 4 to 6 weeks.

Can you train me to fly?

The CAA do not require for you to have any flight instruction. They rely on our assessment of your skills. However, we recommend that you have at least one half day of flight instruction with one of our Flight Instructors. This will give you the basic skills and a good framework for self-training. The instructor will make sure that you understand what will be expected of you when you do your Flight Operations Assessment at the end of the course.