Commercial UAV Pilot Training

Unique Online PfCO Course

CAA National Qualified Entity

For small businesses

and large organisations

Welcome to The UAV Academy

The UAV Academy is a CAA full National Qualified Entity (NQE) approved by the CAA to train and assess 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).

UAV Academy Instructors and Examiners are all highly experienced commercial UAV operators and skilled remote pilots. Our background as professional operators has enabled us to develop and deliver training tailored to new commercial UAV pilots. We will not overload you with material which, whilst interesting, is only relevant to manned aviation. You will learn from our experiences (good and bad) and graduate from the CDP-C™ course with the skills, knowledge and processes you need to confidently and safely operate a UAV commercially.


National Qualified Entity

Man flying a drone holding a control transmitter

What We Offer

We offer a choice of two courses, both leading to the issue of a UK CAA Permission for Commercial Operations

CDP-C™ Online This unique course allows you to complete Stage 1 of the PfCO course without needing to leave home.  You will have access to our Online Learning System and  be able to participate in live GoToTraining™ online classes during which you are able to interact with your instructor and fellow students.  CDP-C™ Online offers a unique combination of self-paced online learning and interactive training. Your theory examination is also taken online with remote invigilation, so the only time you need to travel is when you complete the course by taking your Flight Operations Assessment.

CDP-C™ Ground School This option is ideal if you prefer more traditional, face-to-face training. This option combines our online learning with a two-day classroom-based ‘Ground School’. You and your fellow students will be trained by one of our experienced Instructors. You will have plenty of interaction time and to immerse yourself in everything ‘drone’. The Theory Examination is taken at the end of the two day Ground School.

When you undertake your Flight Operations Assessment we provide up to an hour of  flight instruction prior to you doing your Assessment.  If you need more than this, 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 Flight instructors in eight locations around the UK. Call us and ask about a convenient date and location that suits you.

We deliver many private training courses to corporate customers needing to train over six staff. This is very cost effective and ensures confidentiality and training relevant to the aircraft and the type of operations. Contact us for more details.

If you are considering using drones to enhancing your business then we are very happy to have an informal discussion with you to help you determine whether your plans are feasible, given current regulations, and to help you understand the key issues relating to the equipment and staff training. We do also engage on a more formal basis to provide assistance and guidance related to the use of drones in business. If your business is already operating drones we offer a service to help you update your Operations Manual to meet current CAA and regulatory requirements.

PfCO Course Structure

Stage 1 - Theory
The CAA has set down the syllabus for the theory part of the course. This is based on the modules covered when you are training for a Private Pilots License. However, each subject is covered in much less depth and there are additional modules which are specific to commercial drone operations. The scope of the theory course is broad, but none of it is complicated and no calculations are required. Our highly experienced Instructors will train you to ensure that you have a sound understanding and are well prepared to take the Theory Examination which you are required to pass before you proceed to Stage 2, the practical part of the course.
Stage 2 - Practical
Operations Manual: Once you have finished Stage 1 the next step is to create your Operations Manual. This is a very important document as it forms the basis for your CAA Permission. It is therefore crucial that it is well-written and you must understand and be entirely familiar with its contents.  The CAA have published an Operations Manual template and this is a great place to start, as it sets out the document structure they expect to see and provides useful guidance notes. However, the CAA template provides very little actual content, so it requires for you to write the content and this takes time and can be a little daunting if you are not used to this sort of document. For this reason, we provide, as part of the CDP-C™ course, our Ops Manual Standard which gives you a great starting point for creating your own Operations Manual.

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.

Relative Time Required

  • Theory training
  • Operations Manual
  • Flight Operations Assessment

Next Ground School

Hartham Park, Wiltshire

12th & 12th February








What our customers say

There are many companies in the UK offering training for the PfCO qualification to allow the use of drones for commercial use, so how do you decide which of these companies to trust your development to?
With UAV Academy my experience from the very first contact has been outstanding. Andrew took time to talk through the PfCO course with me in great detail, answered any of my questions and confirmed it was the right course for me. The quality of the printed training materials supplied, combined with simple to use online learning allowed me to prepare well in advance of the classroom learning.
My trainer was fantastic. Not only did he ensure the syllabus was delivered comprehensively, he was able to apply the learning to real world examples which really will improve my safety and also how I can maximise the commercial value of my PfCO and drone equipment. Exceptional learning delivered with care and personal service. 5 stars UAV Academy, thank you. Rob Oldland

If you are looking at getting into the drone industry on a commercial basis, I would highly recommend these guys….Friendly, informative and really helpful, from start to finish of the course!!! Mark Green

Green Energy Consultants

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

 The UAV Academy ground school experience from start to finish has been excellent. Andrew is a fantastic teacher and a fountain of knowledge. You can clearly feel his enthusiasm for everything aviation related! Marnie was also really helpful when I bombarded her with questions on the phone and throughout the booking process too, thank you! The online learning is very accessible and if you’re unsure or struggling to take some things in via the online portal, you recap everything on the two days at ground school so can ask questions and ensure you understand everything. I was a total novice without any understanding other than the basic drone safe guidance and scored 98% on the theory exam on the final day so I cannot recommend this course enough! Now it’s time to complete the ops manual and get my flying up to scratch for the flying assessment…

Sam Parrott

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

Many thanks to the team at The UAV Academy for a fantastic course. Fantastic staff. World class knowledge and a very friendly atmosphere would highly recommend Chris Emsley


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

I highly recommend Andrew Bailey and The UAV Academy for their excellence in professional standards and quality of training, and for their fantastic support throughout the entire process of gaining CAA Approval and PfCO. I did advanced flight skills training and my flight operations assessment with Andrew – I learned a lot and enjoyed every moment. Andrew is a true gent – friendly, supportive, empathetic, a great teacher and communicator, highly skilled, knowledgeable and honest. Do not hesitate to train and qualify with The UAV Academy. Jason Flock

3Drone Ltd

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. You must complete the Flight Operations Assessment within 6 months of passing the Theory Examination. 

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 knowledge and skills. However, we include one hour of flight instruction immediately before you do your Flight Operations Assessment. We also recommend that you book at least half a day of additional flight instruction with one of our 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.
Does my CDP-C™ qualification need to be renewed?
The CDP-C™ qualification awarded to you on successful completion of the course does not expire, so it is life-long. The UK CAA does have a pilot currency minimum and requires you to provide logbook evidence of 2 hours drone flying time in the last three months for each pilot when you submit your application to renew your Permission for Commercial Operations.