Commercial UAV Pilot Training

CAA National Qualified Entity

Unique Online PfCO Course

Virtual Classroom Sessions

Online Theory Exam

COVID-19 Restrictions

We have resumed normal operations and are conducting flight assessments and flight training whilst maintaining social distancing.

Quality PfCO training at a sensible price

The UAV Academy offers to you a unique training package to enable you to gain your UK CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) in the most convenient and cost-effective way possible.

The theory part of our CDP-C™ Online course (Stage 1) combines online learning with instructor-led, live online interactive workshops to bring you the best of online and classroom-based training. We have taken advantage of the best technology available to deliver a superb training package which can be delivered at a very competitive price.

We have also invested in technology, approved by the CAA, which allows you to take the formal theory exam online at home (or at work) when it suits you. This unique feature of our course means that you do not have to take time off work. or spend money on travel and accommodation to attend a ground school course.

When you have passed the theory exam we will work with you to create your Operations Manual which will be based on our standard

Once you have completed Stage 1 of the course you move on to Stage 2 and book to take your Flight Operations Assessment with one of our Examiners.

Remember, with our course the ONLY time you need to travel is when you take your Flight Assessment.

Free A2 Certificate of Competency course (when available) if you enrol on our PfCO course*


National Qualified Entity

The New EU Regulations

What are my options?

EU Regulation Update

The implementation of the EU regulations has been delayed until 31st December 2020. Our advice, therefore, remains to make sure that you apply for a PfCO by the end of 2020 as the rights granted in your PfCO will be ‘grandfathered’ into the new system.

Man flying a drone holding a control transmitter

What We Offer

The CDP-C™ Online course leads to the issue of a UK CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). The PfCO allows you to fly your drone commercially.

The theory part of our course is unique in that it combines an online course handbook, e-learning, and live interactive online training sessions. You can even take the formal theory exam online at a time and place to suit you. Once you have completed the theory part of the course you use our Operations Manual Standard as the basis for creating your own Operations Manual. Then, when you are ready, you take your half-day Flight Operations Assessment at one of our locations around the UK.


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. Our corporate customers include: –

  • Aggregate Industries
  • Dorset & Wiltshire Fire & Rescue Service
  • Friends of the Earth
  • QinetiQ
  • Airbus Defence & Space
  • Dyson
  • Terex (GB) Ltd
  • Zoological Society of London
  • BBC
  • Ericsson Telecom
  • Museum of London Archeology
  • Natural England
  • Police Service of Northern Ireland
  • South Atlantic Environmental Research Institute
  • Thales Land and Air Systems
  • Western Power Distribution

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 and Operations Manual

The CAA has set down the syllabus for the theory part of the course. The scope of the theory course is broad, but it is not complicated and no calculations are required.

We help you to gain knowledge and understanding your need by using a combination of training approaches. These are:

  • 100-page online ‘flipbook’ Course Handbook (optional printed version available)
  • Online Learning, with videos, interactive learning and quizzes
  • ‘Virtual Lessons’  Live interactive video classes which give you a chance to interact with your instructor and other students
  • Mock Examination with questions drawn from the same ‘question pool’ as the formal exam
  • Formal Examination – taken online at home, using remote invigilation
  • 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 has 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 Operations Manual Standard which gives you a great starting point for creating your own Operations Manual.
Stage 2 - Flight Assessment

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 agreed 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 familiar with and fully understand the procedures in your Ops Manual and that you, as  Remote Pilot, 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

  • Reading Course Handbook
  • Online Tutorials
  • Virtual Classes
  • Operations Manual
  • Flight Operations Assessment

Flight Assessment Insurance

As a UAV Academy customer, your Flight Assessment public liability insurance is provided free through our insurance partner Coverdrone.


What our customers say

Great from the start to the assessment. Training material is easy to use, follow and understand. Always ready to answer questions and offer assistance. Online sessions are a great way to discuss matters that concern individuals and also creates a good environment for discussions between each student. I took the 5-hour training and assessment option which was a huge benefit. The training was invaluable and not just for flight control but also for the important pre-site and on-site paperwork and risk assessments. Was made to feel very welcome and put me at ease despite my obvious nerves. Every step of the way being given guidance and way to improve. Made to feel very welcome. I’ve had a great time doing the course and look forward to developing my skills based on the feedback from my assessment.

Mark Brown

The online course was perfect for me – busy, working mum who couldn’t do the 3-day course due to school runs etc.
I could do the course at my own pace and book each stage once I was happy to continue. The online classes were a good time to talk through a few things. Booking the exam and flight assessment when I was ready-made sure that it didn’t feel too rushed.
All round a really great course

Kellie Spicknell

Kellie Spicknell 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


The UAV Academy is absolutely brilliant!

From the moment of enrolment to the completion of my Flight Ops Assessment, I found the staff incredibly helpful and knowledgeable. My examiner Simon was also amazing on the day of my exam, professional and approachable, making the whole experience a very positive one! I would like to thank Andrew Bailey and the whole UAV Academy team for everything and I would definitely recommend the company to anyone wishing to gain their permission.

Dean Lear

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

I have just completed the online PFCO course with the UAV Academy and from start, to finish the experience has been fantastic. I would recommend the online course to anyone who cannot take time away from family and work as it gives you the opportunity to learn at your own pace. Andrew Bailey has been there for me every step of the way giving support where needed and sharing real-life experiences. This course has been the stepping stone needed to start my own aerial photography business.

Andrew Poole

Having just completed the course I cannot recommend using the UAV academy enough. their online learning platform is fantastic and seamless and very easily fit around an already very busy schedule. the learning resources were comprehensive and easy to understand. the flight assessment, whilst I was nervous, was a breeze thanks to the examiner Rob being great at keeping me calm and focused.

Shane Imbrey

I simply cannot recommend UAV Academy highly enough! A thoroughly enjoyable and informative experience from start to finish. Andrew and Rob are incredibly knowledgeable and will guide you through the key areas in a clear and concise manner to enable you to fly your drone safely.

I have just returned home from my Flight Assessment with Rob at the Wiltshire test site. I was rather nervous leading up to it but Rob was fantastic helped me through the process and was there by my side when I needed guidance.

I recommend UAV Academy 100% for anyone seeking to obtain their PfCO!

Rob Tarren

What an amazing experience I had with all those associated with The UAV Academy. Highly professional staff and well tailored resources to pass all the exams. All the way through the process I was guided and I would highly recommend the online course for those not able to make it to a ground school. Ideal for learners who prefer learning in their own time in their own way. 5/5! Fantastic!

Hamza Mujtaba

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

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.

* Our A2 Cof C and GVC courses will be available as soon as the CAA approves our transition from National Qualified Entity to Recognised Assessment Entity. We anticipate that this will be in early 2020.

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.