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A Guide to Renewing your PfCO

A Guide to Renewing your CAA PfCO

The time has arrived, your ‘standard permission’ or Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) is due for renewal.

But since it feels like just yesterday that you had it granted, you’re left wondering how on earth to get started. If this sounds like you, then we’ve got the ultimate guide to renewing your PfCO coming right up! Simply read on and follow our steps to a pain-free PfCO renewal:

Firstly, Permissions are valid for up to 12 months and are subject to an annual renewal by the CAA.  They can be extended for further periods (renewed) during the validity period. When making an application, the CAA’s definition of the term ‘renewal’ on the application form is as follows:

‘Renewal’ means an application to extend the validity of an existing Permission, Exemption or other operational authorisation, where there is no change being requested for the class of UAS being used, the operational conditions, or the terms of the current approval.

Infographic showing CAA PfCO Renewal Checklist

Did you know, you can apply for your renewal up to 90 days prior to expiry without loss of validity of the original date. The CAA gives you plenty of time to get yourself prepared so the earlier you can get started, the better.

Step 1 – Update your Operations Manual

Updating your Operations Manual can seem like a mammoth task, but as it’s a working document it’s likely you’ve kept it up-to-date so all that’s required are a few checks to ensure everything has been covered, including:

  • CAP 393 updates, requirements and changes have been incorporated into your Manual so it is current against the latest Air Navigation Order.
  • Your manual states the name of all current nominated pilots which operate under the Permission.
  • Your manual includes a reporting procedure such as using the ECCAIRS Reporting portal.
  • Your manual is signed by the Accountable person/manager with a wet or electronic digital signature.
  • Date has been added to the Operations Manual, against your signature as Accountable Manager/Person.
  • Any mention of ‘person in charge’ has been updated to SUA operator or Remote Pilot as per the latest ANO amendments.
  • PfAW or Permission for Aerial Work is now an expired term which should be updated to PfCO or Permission for Commercial Operations.
  • Your manual shows the latest revisions of all documents related to your PfCO application in your reference table.
  • Issue number is correct, ensuring the amendment log and version/date have also been amended where necessary.
  • Your manual’s amendment log, version/date (including page 1) and any headers and footers have also been amended.
  • Your document should be submitted in a readable format i.e. Adobe PDF.

Information current at time of publishing, please check the CAA’s website for the most up-to-date list of information to be included.

If you feel as though your ops manual could use a bit of extra work, then we’ve got a helpful guide that shows you exactly how to update your Operations Manual in line with CAA amendments and other regulation updates.

Following this, if you would still prefer some more detailed assistance from a leading NQE, Uplift Drones offers a paid renewal service to increase the likelihood of first-time approval. The Annual Review Service includes the most recent versions of our complete and easy-to-use Ops Manual Templates, along with a thorough review prior to submitting your renewal application, and provides expert guidance to give you the best chance of approval from the CAA.

Step 2 – Gather your Supporting Documents

In addition to your Ops Manual, you’ll need to ensure you’ve got updated versions of your Flight Logs. For renewal applications, the logbook evidence must clearly state the name of the Remote Pilot so make sure you’ve checked this, particularly if downloading your flight logs straight from a manufacturer app / third-party software.

The CAA also wants to see evidence (dates and flight duration for each flight) of 2 hours unmanned aircraft flying (recreational or commercial) over the last 3 months for one of the nominated pilots. Note that you no longer have to provide a copy of your valid insurance documents for PfCO renewals – although you must still have this in place in line with EC Regulation 785/2004.

Step 3 – Apply for your PfCO Renewal

Once you are happy with that your Operations Manual has been updated to reflect all of the latest regulation changes and you have checked (and re-checked) that all of the CAA’s requirements are included in your OSC document and supporting evidence, then you are ready to submit your renewal application to the CAA. 

Remember, when stating your legal entity (registered charity, Limited Company or LLP name) the number and name stated on your application form must match exactly as per the Companies/Charities House registry website, and the address stated on your form must also be identical to the website.

Your PfCO renewal application can be made directly via the CAA’s online application system for Standard Permissions to operate unmanned aircraft systems. 

The CAA do charge an application fee for standard permission renewals, so it’s always best to check the CAA Scheme of Charges (General Aviation) to confirm the cost before making your application. You will be required to complete the fee payment during the final part of your online application via debit or credit card.

Pathway to PfCO Renewal

Infographic showing pathway to CAA PfCO Renewal


Now that you know what it takes to renew your CAA PfCO, you should be all set to get started. And if you do require any additional help, our expert training team are only a phone call away. So give us a ring on 0330 111 8800 or email info@upliftdrones.com for more information about CAA PfCO Renewals.


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