A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC)

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A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC)

£245.00 inc. VAT

GBP245 including VAT

The A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC) is a new CAA drone qualification which will be introduced no earlier than 31 December 2020.

This qualification enables pilots who operate a C2 Class aircraft to fly within subcategory A2 of the Open Category, at a reduced distance to people, buildings and structures.

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Course Description

The A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC) is a drone competency certificate.

The qualification gives pilots the ability to fly drones within the A2 subcategory of the Open Category. This means they are able to fly down to a maximum distance of 5m (horizontally) from people who are not participating in the drone flight – known as ‘uninvolved people’.

Course Content

The iRed® A2 CofC Course provides delegates with the technical and operational knowledge to safely operate a drone. This is especially important when flying close to people and buildings. As such, delegates will learn how to fly according to UK air law, avoiding potential risks. As a result of this, delegates will gain the qualification they need to operate under the Open Category.

The A2 Certificate of Competency course includes three main subjects:

  • Meteorology – including interpreting reports and forecasts, as well as understanding the effects of weather on an unmanned aircraft
  • UAS flight performance – including basic principles of flight, operating guides, and maintenance
  • UAS Operating Principles – including VLOS, operating in congested areas, and how to avoid ground risk

To complete the A2 CofC qualification, delegates will sit a closed-book theory exam. During the exam, delegates will have 75 minutes to complete 30 multiple-choice questions.

This qualification does not include a flight assessment. However delegates will need to complete a period of practical flight training before attending the A2 CofC course. Delegates can choose to practise their flying either with the guidance of an RAE, such as iRed®. They are also able to complete their training under ‘self-monitored’ circumstances. As part of this training, delegates will need to ensure that they are competent in preparing for a drone flight, operating under both normal and abnormal situations, and debriefing following a flight.

Who Should Attend

This qualification is ideal for pilots who want to operate their drone with fewer limitations. As set out in new drone regulations, the A2 CofC is suitable for pilots who fly both commercially and as a hobby.

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Discount for ARPAS UK members

In collaboration with ARPAS UK, members can receive an additional 10% discount off any of our courses.* To redeem, simply get in touch and we’ll give you an exclusive discount code for a course of your choice.

*Discount not valid for optional accreditation. Discount cannot be used in conjunction with any other promotional offers.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need the A2 Certificate of Competency?
An A2 Certificate of Competency is suitable for all drone pilots, whether commercial or recreational. It is ideal for pilots who want to operate within the A2 subcategory of the Open Category.

This qualification enables pilots to fly a Class 2 aircraft down to 30m around ‘uninvolved people’ (people who are not participating in the drone flight). Pilots are also able to fly down to 5m if the aircraft is in a ‘low-speed’ mode.

Pilots without the A2 CofC may find they are limited in how and where they are able to fly their drone.

What’s the difference between an A2 CofC and a GVC?
The main difference between the A2 CofC and the GVC is the fact that each of these qualifications applies to separate operating categories.

An A2 CofC allows pilots to fly within the A2 subcategory of the Open Category. In contrast, pilots with a GVC are able to conduct Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) operations within the Specific Category. As such, the qualification you need will depend on the category you want to operate in. It’s important to consider the operating distances from people and buildings you want to maintain, as well as the class of drone you’ll be flying.

If you’re aiming to conduct operations across multiple categories, you may need to undertake both the A2 CofC as well as the GVC.

Which aircraft can I fly with an A2 CofC?
Any aircraft flown within the A2 subcategory must be Class 2 (C2).

A C2 aircraft is any aircraft that has less than a 4kg ‘maximum take-off mass’ (MTOM). This includes any sensors and additional equipment your aircraft might be carrying.

C2 aircraft must be ‘safely made’ according to EU manufacturing standards. As well as this, they must come equipped with a remote ID, noise limitations, and geo-awareness capabilities. Additionally, Class C2 drones must have a low-speed mode, which can limit maximum speed to at least 3 metres per second (m/s).

Currently, C2 drones are not available to buy in the UK. However, until 30 June 2022, pilots will be able to fly existing, ‘legacy’ drones. For more information about C2 and Legacy drones, see:

What if I already have a PfCO?
Pilots who hold a PfCO with an expiry date after 1 July 2020 will not notice an immediate change – they will still be able to operate under the terms of their existing permissions.

The new qualifications (A2 CofC and GVC) will be in place from 1 July. Pilots with a PfCO who want to fly a drone within the new categories will need to gain the qualification that is most relevant to their operations.

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