CAA Approval

Drone theory and flight training towards the CAA Permission

5 steps to success

How Do I Qualify to Fly Drones Commercially (for paid work) in the UK?

This is one of the questions we get asked all the time at Uplift Drone Training. Don't worry the answer is straightforward and we are here to help you through each step of the process.

Download our documentation


Step 1

You Need a CAA Approved National Qualified Entity (NQE)

In order to do commercial drone work (any work that is paid ) in the UK you are legally required to have a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). These are granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The companies where you can be assessed for your PfCO are officially called National Qualified Entities or NQEs for short. Uplift Drone Training is a leading (and we think the best!) NQE. We provide high quality training courses to help you obtain your PfCO.

Step 2

Book a Course

Once you have found an excellent high quality NQE (we recommend Uplift Drone Training!) you need to book a course. Uplift Drone Training provides two main courses, either will lead to the Permission for Commercial Operations. Each course we offer has two days classroom based theory training. Our “combined course” adds a day of flight training which we think is essential for those not familiar with flying drones or planning commercial drone jobs.At the end of your two day theory course there is a multiple choice exam. You will be well prepared for this exam by the end of the theory course. Once you have passed the exam the next step is…

Step 3

Write an Operations Manual

You will need to write an Operations Manual. This sets out how you will operate your drone safely. Your operations manual contains the procedures you will use when flying your drone including on your flight test. UDT will help you with written guidance on how to write an Ops Manual, and support via phone and email. It isn’t hard and we can show you how to complete this to a high standard, with the minimum of fuss. This Operations manual will form part of your application to the CAA for your Permission for Commercial Operations.

NEW – we are now offering students the opportunity to write the operations manual before attending the ground course. By doing this, you can attend the ground school and subject to meeting certain requirements then take your flight test straight after the ground school, this results in one visit to us not two.

Step 4

Pass your Flight Test

Once you have submitted your Operations Manual to us and it has been approved, you will need to take out insurance for your drone and book a flight test with us. Once your flight test is passed its time for the final stage! By the time you have been through the excellent training at UDT you will be confident when it comes to the flight test. The flight test will be conducted as if it is a commercial job, the examiner will make it clear what it expected but will only observe and assess your operation against the operations manual you have written. Some of the things the examiner will be looking for are:

  • Safe operation and control of the aircraft.
  • Correct planning and paperwork
  • Your assessment of the site and adequate safety measures.

All of this will be very clear and familiar to you after you have completed the excellent UDT training!

Step 5

We submit your paperwork to the CAA

When you have completed all parts of the course successfully and submitted an operations manual, we will dispatch all paperwork to the CAA for you. The CAA charge a fee for application which is not included in the course price. A few weeks later you will receive your Permission for Commercial Operations, you are then all set to work commercially with your aircraft in whatever sector your business is focusing on whether it be film making, photography, surveying or something else!

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