PfCO Course (Online Classroom)

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PfCO Course (Online Classroom)

£700.00 £500.00 inc. VAT

GBP500 including VAT

This course is delivered online via a virtual classroom (9am to 5pm).
Physical classroom courses available here: CAA Approved PfCO Course

Commercial drone training course for pilots looking to gain their PfCO from the CAA.

Gain the skills and knowledge needed to operate a drone commercially and apply for your Permissions for Commercial Operations (PfCO).

Please Note: After attending the course, students will need to complete an in-person flight-assessment (included). Due to CAA regulations changing, delegates will need to have completed all elements of the course (Ground school, Operations Manual + Flight test) and submitted their application to the CAA before 1st December 2020.

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Course Description

The Commercial Remote Pilot Qualification (CRPQ) is a drone training course suitable for new pilots. The course guides delegates through the process of applying for their Permissions for Commercial Operations (PfCO) from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

An expert instructor will deliver the interactive course via Google Meets, across three days of teaching. This comprehensive online course teaches delegates how to operate their drone safely and for commercial purposes.

Please Note: Delegates will need to ensure they have access to a webcam, microphone, speakers and a strong internet connection. It is also essential to complete the course in a quiet, undisturbed environment.

1.3-Day Theory Course (‘Ground School’)

During the theory course, delegates will gain their Commercial Remote Pilot Qualification (CRPQ). Delegates will learn the essential skills and knowledge needed to operate a drone for commercial purposes. Pilots will learn how to navigate the airspace around them in accordance with CAA regulations.

Course content includes drone operating procedures, air law, airmanship, meteorology, and navigation. Delegates will gain industry-focused advice and guidance for professional industrial inspections, as well as different applications for their drone including a range of sensors.

At the end of the course, delegates will sit a multiple-choice theory exam.

2. Operations Manual 

Successful completing the course will give delegates the skills and knowledge to create a CAA-compliant Operations Manual. Your Manual focuses on your specific drone and the operations you will conduct. It will include details of your organisation, your aircraft, and the operating procedures you will follow. Once complete, you can submit your Manual to the iRed® Academy, when our instructors will then provide guidance and feedback, before final CAA submission.

3. Flight Assessment

Once your Operations Manual has been successfully reviewed by our instructors, you will be able to book your practical flight assessment. The flight test is the only time during this course when delegates will need to travel, as it will take place at our assessment location. The aim of the flight test is to ensure that you are both confident and competent when operating your aircraft. During the test, delegates will demonstrate the procedures they put in place before, during, and after a drone operation. You can schedule your flight test for up to a year after course completion.

4. CAA Application

When you have successfully completed both your flight assessment and Operations Manual, we’ll provide you with a ‘letter of recommendation’. You can then submit this, alongside your Manual and Online CRPQ Course Certificate, to the CAA for approval.

PfCO approval can take up to 28 days, and is not guaranteed. However, a ‘letter of recommendation’ from an approved training provider is essential for those applying for a PfCO.

Our drone training courses provide extra insight and guidance for commercial applications and using your drone within industry. As commercial surveyors and inspectors, our instructors have a wealth of knowledge and experience that can’t be found at any other training centre.

Our team can also provide extra guidance for night flying operations – at no extra charge.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of online training?
This online course is easy to access, and allows you to complete your training from your home or workplace. The course format provides opportunities to get involved and ask questions, meaning you gain the same support as you would in a classroom!

How do I access the online course?
When you have registered, you will receive information telling you how to access the online course, which is delivered via Skype.

It is essential that delegates have access to Skype throughout the duration of the course, which will run from 9am – 5pm every day with an hours break for lunch.

Do I need a PfCO to fly a drone?
If you’re flying a drone purely as a hobby, and are following the rules and regulations specified by the CAA, you do not need a PfCO. However, if you want to fly a drone for commercial use – which means charging a fee for your work – you will need to gain your Permissions from the CAA in order to operate legally.

Will I gain a PfCO by completing this course?
This course does not automatically provide delegates with their PfCO. Successful completion of the course, including the theory exam, Operations Manual, and flight assessment, means delegates will learn how to operate safely and commercially. Once completed, we’ll provide you with a ‘NQE recommendation’, which you will need to submit alongside your manual and CRPQ Certificate to the CAA for approval.

To find out more about registration fees and the application process, please visit:

How long does a PfCO take to complete?
On average, delegates take 3-4 weeks to complete the PfCO process.

When can I take my practical flight assessment?
Delegates are only able to attend their flight assessment after their Operations Manual has been submitted and successfully reviewed by our instructors. Flight assessments are included with the course cost and can be taken up until a year after course completion.

What happens if I fail my practical flight assessment?
We offer delegates one free re-sit for all flight assessments – so no need to worry!

Are there any additional costs?
There are additional charges to be made to the CAA. These include an initial application charge* of £250, and a further £190 on annual renewal of your PfCO.
*prices correct as of 2019

Will I need to renew my PfCO?
You will need to renew your PfCO with the CAA annually. However, this process does not involve having to retrain or retake a drone flight test.

Do I need to take a test to fly drones at night?
There are no extra requirements for night flying. Our instructors can provide extra guidance for night flying operations at no additional charge.

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