A Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) is Required
This permission enable operations beyond the normal bounds of the regulations laid down within the Air Navigation Order (ANO), provided that the CAA is satisfied that this can be achieved in a safe manner.
Permissions and/or exemptions are valid for up to 12 months and are subject to an annual renewal. The CAA is required to make a charge for these.
The CAA does not organise or run assessment courses but have approved commercial organisations, known as National Qualified Entities (NQEs) to do this assessment on their behalf. A list of NQEs can be found here.
Course & Tests
A typical NQE full-course involves:
- pre-entry/online study
- 1-3 days of classroom lessons and exercises
- a written theory test
- a flight assessment
After successfully completing the theory element, you will need to:
- develop an operations manual;
- practice aircraft operation/flying skills for the practical flight assessment.
Flight assessments are normally arranged and completed at your own pace:
- they are usually arranged separately but may be available on the last day of the course
- they have no structured syllabus or sequence of numbered exercises, but the test will be based on testing the procedures that have been described within the applicant’s operations manual
Once all of the above has been successfully completed, you will be able to submit all the paperwork (or your NQE on your behalf) to the CAA and within 29 working days you may get your PfCO.
You will have to renew your PfCO every year and there is a cost.
From 30th November 2019 you will have to register as a drone pilot with the CAA on top of the above permission. Information can be found here.
Additional information can be found on the Civil Aviation Authority website (www.caa.co.uk). The information above is correct at the time of publishing and is subject to change. City Drones (and subsidiaries) are not responsible or liable for any actions you take. [29/10/2019]