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How Do I Become a Drone Pilot in the UK– Civil Aviation Authority

How Do I Become a Drone Pilot in the UK - Civil Aviation Authority

To become to become a Drone Pilot in the UK you will first need to understand the different drone categories.

Drones in the UK are subdivided into three sub-categories based on how you intend to use the drone and the level of risk involved:

  • Open Category
  • Specific category
  • Certified Category

Open Catgeory

Requires no authorisation from the CAA. Covers low-risk drone flights that involve a light drone or take place in a largely unpopulated area.

Specific Category

Requires authorisation from the CAA. The CAA defines this category as ‘operations that present a greater risk than that of the Open category, or where one or more elements of the operation fall outside the boundaries of the Open category.’

Certified Category

Requires authorisation from the CAA. The CAA defines this category as ‘operations that present an equivalent risk to that of manned aviation; because of this they are subjected to the same regulatory regime (i.e. certification of the unmanned aircraft, certification of the UAS operator, licensing of the remote pilot).’

Drone Pilot Licence Process

  • Obtain a Flyer ID
  • Obtain an Operator ID (drone class dependant)
  • Pass the Free CAA basic online theory test
  • Pass the A2 CofC test
  • Pass the GVC test

Operator ID

  • The operator is the person responsible for managing a drone or model aircraft
  • You must be 18 or over to get an operator ID.
  • if you’re younger than 18 and you own a drone or model aircraft, you must ask your parent or guardian to register for an operator ID

Flyer ID

You must pass the CAA’s official theory test to get a flyer ID before flying a drone or model aircraft covered by the regulations.

NOTE: You must be 13 years old to get a flyer ID

CAA Theory Test

Click here to start the test: https://register-drones.caa.co.uk/register/enter-email

A2 CofC CAA Course

The A2 CofC is the training course and qualification needed to operate in the A2 Subcategory of the OPEN Category

General VLOS Certificate (GVC)

Flying in the Specific Category requires operational authorisation issued by the CAA.

The Specific category covers operations that present a greater risk than that of the Open category

The GVC is a remote pilot competency certificate which was intordcued by the CAA as a single qualification that covers the remote pilot competency requirements for VLOS operations within the Specific category. 

The GVC test covers the following:

  • Demonstrate a sufficient understanding of aviation theory (airmanship, airspace, aviation law and good flying practice)
  • Pass a practical flight assessment (flight test)
  • Develop basic procedures for conducting the type of flights you want to do and set these out in an Operations Manual

NOTE: You need to be 18 or over to complete the test.

Drone Training

Drone licence training is carried out by CAA Approved National Qualified Entities or NQEs

Drone Insurance

A minimum requirement within the UK is for commercial drone operators to have public liability insurance to protect against legal liability for injury or third party property damage whilst using a drone.