CDP-C™ Online – Full PfCO Course

COVID-19 Restrictions

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

Featuring live online instructor-led classes and a remotely invigilated theory exam

This is an innovative remote learning course which allows you to study at a time and place which suits you and at your own pace. You will not need to take time away from work or travel to attend a classroom-based course.  You will not have to sit through two to three days of classroom training. Instead, you will study using our flipbook Course Handbook, Online Learning System and a series of live interactive online video sessions delivered by one of our experienced instructors.  These virtual classroom sessions give you an opportunity to interact directly with your instructor and other students. When you are ready you will then take your Theory Examination online (with remote invigilation) and be issued with your CAA recognised Remote Pilot Theoretical Knowledge Certificate. All of this can be done from your home at a time and pace to suit you.

The ONLY time you will need to travel is when you have your Flight Assessment

Course Structure

Stage 1 – Theory and Ops Manual

  • Course Handbook
  • Online Learning with quizzes
  • Online interactive virtual-classroom sessions
  • Mock Examinations to check your knowledge
  • Formal Theory Examination is taken online
  • Theory Certificate issued
  • Creation of your Operations Manual based on our Standard
  • Our review, feedback and approval of your Ops Manual

Stage 2 – Flight Assessment

  • Flight Operations Assessment (half a day at one of our assessment locations)
  • A final check of all documentation required for PfCO application
  • Certificate of Recommendation issued
  • PfCO application and issue

Course Outcome

Once you have successfully completed all elements of the course you will hold a non-expiring CDP-C™ qualification and we will issue you with a Certificate of Recommendation which will allow you to apply to the CAA for a Permission for Commercial Operations. As soon as this has been received you will be able to start flying your drone commercially.

UK Pilots License holders are exempt from Stage 1 and can gain a CAA Permission by completing Stage 2 only.

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

CDP-C™ Online

Stage 1
Theory and Ops Manual

£330 (incl. VAT)

CDP-C™ Online

Stage 2
Flight Assessment

£168 (incl. VAT)

Please Note: There is an application fee, currently £253, payable to the CAA when you submit your PfCO application. CAA fees are not subject to VAT.

Free Flight Assessment Insurance.

Coverdrone offer free £1m public liability for your Flight Operations Assessment.


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 the year as the rights granted in your PfCO will be ‘grandfathered’ into the new system.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a time limit for completing the course?

We place a limit of 12 months (see our Terms & Conditions) from enrolling on the course to completing when you pass the Flight Operations Assessment. Should you delay completion of the course, for whatever reason, we will ask you to take an online theory refresher to ensure that your knowledge is fresh and up-to-date with current regulations and best practices. There is a fee of £250 (incl. VAT) for the refresher course.

What are the benefits of using Online Learning?

Lower Cost
You save money by not having to take time away from your work or business and you also will not be incurring any travel and accommodation costs. Running our courses online also means that we can keep our costs low because we are not having to rent space to run a classroom-based course. This means that we can keep the course fee much low too.

Learn at a place and pace to suit you
Our CDP-C™ Online course can be accessed from any location using a laptop, tablet or smartphone. All that is needed is an Internet connection. This means that you can use any available spare time to learn and you can work through the lessons as many times as you like. 

Keep track of your progress
We use one of the most sophisticated Learning Management Systems (LMS) available. The system continuously updates your progress as you work through the course. You just log into your dashboard and can see your progress at a glance.

Learn in private
Some people prefer to study in private rather than being part of a group in a classroom environment. With our CDP-C™ Online course, you can study by yourself and at a pace that works for you.

What are the 'live online interactive' sessions?

We use a web-based interactive video meeting system called Zoom to run instructor-led lessons and workshops to supplement the learning you do online. We schedule regular sessions which you can register for and we do not limit the number of times you can participate in these sessions. They will cover topics like air law and operations planning in depth and give you the opportunity to ask questions and enter into discussion with your instructor and fellow students. You can expect to attend approximately 4 hours of these sessions as part of Stage 1 of your course.

What are the subjects I will be learning about?

The course covers the following topics

  • Air Law and Pilot Responsibilities
  • Maps and Navigation
  • Airspace – Operating Principles
  • Aircraft Knowledge
  • Battery Management
  • Human Factors
  • Meteorology
  • Airmanship and Aviation Safety
  • Planning and Operating Procedures

This is the syllabus set down by the UK CAA as being required for the theoretical part of the training required for the issue of a UK Permission for Commercial Operations

Is there a printed course handbook?

We make our 100 page course handbook available to you online as a flipbook. We also offer this as a high quality printed and bound course handbook for £25 including postage to UK addresses. This printed course handbook is only available if you have enrolled on the course.

Where and when do I take my Theory Examination?

We are the only training provider authorised by the CAA to conduct remotely invigilated theory examinations. This means that you can take your theory exam at a place and time to suit you. You will need a Windows or Mac computer with a working webcam, speakers and microphone.  You have a chance before you take your exam to practice using the computer-based exam system. You will know your results immediately you finish the exam and will be sent a CAA recognised Theory Competence Certificate.

How do I write my Operations Manual?

Your Operations Manual is a very important document and it is crucially important that it is written well and that you are familiar with its contents.  We provide you with The UAV Academy Standard which will ensure that you are able to create your own Operations Manual quickly and easily. We will review your draft Operations Manual, give you feedback on it, and ultimately approve it as meeting current CAA standards. When you take your Flight Operations Assessment your Examiner will ask you questions about the procedures in your Operations Manual.

What can I expect when I take my Flight Operations Assessment?

Everything you have learnt during Stage 1 of the course come to together for the last part of the course which is a Flight Operations Assessment (FOA). This will take the form of an imaginary client request for Aerial imagery. We will send you a client brief, with details about the location and what you are being asked to do. You will agree a date for your FOA with your Examiner and then 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 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.

At some point during your FOA, you are likely to have to deal with a couple of simulated emergencies which will be given to you by the examiner.  If your aircraft is capable of being switched into ATTI mode (no GPS position hold) you will be asked to demonstrate that you are capable of flying your drone without GPS position holding.

You must take your FOA within six months of passing the Theory Examination. If you are not able to do this we will ask you to complete the Online Learning again and you will be charged an additional fee of £200 + VAT.

Once you have successfully completed your Flight Operations Assessment we will submit your Operations Manual and our recommendation to the CAA who will, in due course, issue you with your Permission for Commercial Operations.

Where can I take my Flight Operations Assessment?

Currently, we have the following Flight Assessment and Training sites:

  • Cornwall
  • Cumbria
  • Kent
  • Leicestershire
  • Northern Ireland
  • Oxfordshire
  • West Sussex
  • Wiltshire
How long does it take to complete the course?

It is possible to complete Stage 1, the theory part of the course, in just a few days, or you can just take as much time as you like or need. The choice is yours. On average we believe that our students spend about 20 hours studying to complete Stage 1.

Once you have completed Stage 1 there is no reason why you cannot complete Stage 2 within a few days. You Operations Manual does not need to take longer than just a few hours to complete. Once approved you can book to take your Flight Ops Assessment and our availability is excellent, so you should not need to wait more than a few days.