How much does a “Drone License” (CAA PfCO) cost?
So, you’re looking to get your “drone licence” or, to use the correct and official term, Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) granted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The first question you might find yourself asking is ‘what actually is a PfCO and how much will it cost to get one?’ Read on to find out everything you need to know about the cost of gaining your Permission for Commercial Operations.
What is a PfCO?
Well, the PfCO is granted by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to allow a drone pilot to undertake commercial work with their SUA (small unmanned aircraft), the official CAA term for a drone under 20kg. This covers any type of aerial work that you will gain remuneration for. For example; an estate agent capturing aerial imagery with a drone to profile their homes, or a professional photographer looking to add aerial drone footage to their business website.
How do I get a PfCO?
The official CAA approved companies where you can be assessed for your PfCO are called National Qualified Entities or NQEs for short. Uplift Drones is a leading NQE in the United Kingdom and we provide high quality training courses to help you obtain your PfCO and ensure our students become skilled and knowledgeable SUA pilots.
Choosing the right NQE for you and your needs is an important decision, as it will be their standards that you will be trained to so it’s imperative these are of the highest quality. Always remember to check previous customer reviews, as they can provide an honest indication of other student’s experiences!
How much will it cost?
Not everyone has the same budget for their CAA drone training; some of you may be using your personal savings or small business funds to cover your training costs. Some of you may be business owners that need to cover the costs of several staff training. Either way, it’s crucial to know how much a PfCO costs so you can find the right NQE training course for you.
At Uplift, we like to be completely transparent with our customers. Our PfCO drone training courses start from £750 plus VAT, depending on the type of training you require (online/in-person):
- Online PfCO – £750 plus VAT (£900 inc. VAT)
- Fast Track PfCO – £899 plus VAT (£1078 inc. VAT)
- Advanced PfCO – £1239 plus VAT (£1486.80 inc. VAT)
- Pilot’s PfCO – £790 plus VAT (£948 inc. VAT)
- Theory Examination – FREE – the cost of your theory test is included within all of our PfCO courses.
- Flight Assessment – FREE or £290 plus VAT (£348 inc. VAT) – the cost of your practical flight test is included within all of our PfCO courses.
- Practical Flight Training – £350 plus VAT (£420 inc. VAT) – flight training is included in the Advanced PfCO course only but can be purchased as an add-on to the Online PfCO and Pilot’s PfCO courses.
You will be required to hold the specified drone insurance for your Flight Assessment. This will need to be compliant with EU Regulation EC785/2004 and can be purchased as a valid ‘Pay as you Fly’, one-day, monthly or annual policy. There are various specialist drone insurance providers in the UK, such as Coverdrone.
If you are completing Practical Flight Training with us, you are already covered under Uplift Drones’ insurance policy.
When should I purchase a drone?
If you don’t own a drone before booking your PfCO training course, you have two main options… If you already know which drone you’ve chosen to kick-start your aerial kit, you can purchase your aircraft prior to starting your PfCO course. We offer exclusive PfCO + Drone bundles to help you get the most value for your money from the get-go.
Alternatively, you might want to wait until you’ve completed the theory part of your course and know exactly what you want from your drone, such as intelligent features for specialist applications or size and pricing. Plus, our training team are always on-hand to offer expert buying and technical advice whether this is at one of our in-person courses or phone and email. Simply let us know any questions you have, and we can help you make the right choice to match your needs from our extensive range of market-leading drones and accessories.
You also have the choice of hiring a drone from us to complete your Flight Assessment, however this is only recommended for experienced recreational pilots who are “in-between drones”, as you will need to practice flying your drone and have a set number of logged hours in order to undertake your Flight Assessment.
CAA Application Fee
When you have completed all parts of your PfCO training course successfully, you can submit your paperwork to the CAA via their online UAS application process. The CAA charge a fee for UAS applications (currently £247) in addition to your PfCO training course price. Payment is made online in the final stage of their online UAS application.
Drone Finance and Business Leasing
At Uplift, you can pay for your drone training and equipment in monthly instalments. Whether you’re an individual or business, we offer drone financing solutions for all our customers.