Our innovative remote learning courses allow 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 any classroom based training. Instead, you will study using our Online Learning System and will be able to book online video meetings one of our experienced instructors at any point during your course. These video meetings give you an opportunity to interact directly with your instructor and sometimes with other students. When you feel ready you will then take your theory examination online too. All of this can be done from your home at a time and pace to suit you.
New drone regulations come into force on the 31st December 2020
The new EU regulations make no distinction between commercial and recreational drone flying, instead they focus on the level of risk for the type of flying you intend to do. The training and qualifications you need will depend on factors such as where you intend to fly your drone, how close you need to fly to uninvolved people, whether you need to fly in built-up areas and the size of the drone you will be flying.
So, if you intend to fly your drone at least 150m away from people and any built-up areas you may only need to register as an operator and take the flyer test on the CAA’s Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education System. If you want to fly your drone closer to people or within a built up area then you will be required to have either an A2 Certificate of Competency or a General VLOS Certificate.
There are two levels of qualification, the A2 CofC and the GVC. The GVC replaces the current PfCO course allowing pilots to fly drones up to 25kg in congested areas and close to uninvolved people. The GVC can be used to apply for a CAA PfCO until the end of 2020 after which time the GVC will support an application for an Operational Authorisation giving the same privileges as the current PfCO. The A2 CofC is a new qualification providing more flexibility for recreational drone pilots and it will allow you to fly for commercial gain without the need for an operations manual or CAA Permission. Both qualifications are valid for 5 years.
The A2 Certificate of Competency
The A2 CofC C is the first level course and with The UAV Academy it can be completed entirely at home. This qualification allows you to legally fly your drone in more demanding locations (such as built-up areas) and to fly closer to uninvolved people. Holding an A2 CofC means that you can operate in the new A2 (Open) sub-category, no matter if its for recreational or commercial reasons.
The A2 sub-category allows flight as close as 5m from uninvolved people with a drone (up to 4kg) which meets new product standards and has a C2 Class rating (similar to the CE stamp we see on many products). These ‘certified drones’ are not yet available, so for the time being non-certified drones flying in the A2 sub-category are limited to 2kg and you will have to keep at least 50m away from uninvolved people. You will be able to fly in built-up areas provided you maintain this distance from uninvolved people. With a drone weighing less than 500g (eg. Mavic Air, Mini, Parrot Anafi) you will be able to fly closer to uninvolved people as you feel is safe, provided you do not deliberately fly overhead them.
The A2 CofC required you to complete a theory course and take a formal invigilated theory exam. The exam is 30 multiple-choice questions and you have to score 80% to pass. You also have to complete some practical flight training which can be self-training or with one of our instructors.
The advantages of the A2 Cof C are that you do not need an operations manual and there is no requirement to submit an application to the CAA. As soon as you have completed the course and have been issued with your certificate you can fly in the A2 sub-category for both recreational and commercial purposes.
- Online Learning
- Quizzes to check your knowledge
- Theory Examination is taken online at home
- Issue of your A2 Certificate of Competency
PLEASE NOTE: You will not be able to exercise these rights until the new regulations come into force on 31st December 2020.
The General VLOS Certificate
The GVC is required if you wish to have an Operational Authorisation for the Specific Category. This will allow you to operate a drone with a maximum take-off mass (weight) of up to 25kg. It allows you to fly in a built up area provided you fly no closer than 50m to uninvolved people. This distance reduces to 30m on take-off and landing.
The GVC may be used to apply for a CAA PfCO until 31st December 2020. The PfCO will automatically be changed to an Operational Authorisation on the first renewal in 2021.
GVC holders will soon be able to add new specialist ‘bolt-on’ modules to their Operational Authorisation. The first such module will be for flying up to 2km from the remote pilot (EVLOS). More are planned to make it easier to fly in city environments, closer to people and even beyond visual line of sight.
Stage 1 – Theory
- Online Learning
- Online live video meetings with your instructor
- Quizzes to check your knowledge
- Theory Examination is taken online at home
Stage 2 – Operations Manual and Flight Assessment
- Creation of your Operations Manual based on our Standard
- Our review, feedback and approval of your Ops Manual
- Flight Assessment (half a day at one of our assessment locations)
- Free Flight Assessment insurance with Coverdrone
- A final check of all documentation required for your PfCO application
- GVC issued
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 it. Should you delay completion of the course, for whatever reason, we will ask you to re-take the online theory course to ensure that your knowledge is fresh and up-to-date with current regulations.
What are the benefits of using Online Learning?
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 online courses 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 online courses, 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 video meeting system called Zoom to give you access to your instructor as you work your way through the course (this is only available for the GVC course). We schedule regular Zoom meetings for which you can register and there is no limit the number of times you can participate in these meetings. The meetings give you the opportunity to ask questions and to discuss topics with your instructor and fellow students.
Where and when do I take my Theory Examination?
We were the first 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 will know your results immediately you finish the exam.
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 Template 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 has to come together for the last part of the course which is a Flight Assessment. Your assessment will simulate a commercial operation. You will be sent details about the location and will be expected to plan and risk assess an operation at that location. You will need to demonstrate to your examiner that you are capable of planning an operation and then using the procedures set out in your Operations Manual. We also need to be sure that you have the flying skills necessary to conduct a flight competently and safely whilst operating within the rules and regulations laid down by the CAA.
At some point during your assessment, 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 assessment 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 assessment we will conduct a final review of your Operations Manual and issue you with your Certificate.
Where can I take my Flight Operations Assessment?
Currently, we have the following Flight Assessment and Training sites:
- Northern Ireland
- West Sussex
How long does it take to complete the course?
The A2 CofC course could be completed in a day or two. We would not recommend that as you will remember much more if you take your time and really thing about the information you are given.
For the GVC 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 our students take about 2 weeks 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 your operations manual has been approved you can book to take your flight assessment. Availability is normally excellent, so you should not need to wait more than a few days.