Abbreviated GVC and A2 CofC Course

Until recently, it was possible for pilots transistioning from manned aviation to drones to use their ATPL, CPL or PPL to exempt themselves from the theoretical competence course.

Now that the UAS regulations are separating fully from the ANO, this is no longer possible. However, there is a significant amount of content that will be familiar to trained pilots. As a result, through a combination of online learning and personal revision we are able to reduce the theoretical content to one day.

Candidates will still be required to sit all the theory module exams and carry out a Practical Flight Test. Candidates enrolling on the abbreviated course will be required to provide evidence of their licence in order to access the course.

Our aim is always to do the best we can to not just support your through to the point where you receive your Operational Authorisation  from the CAA, but to provide additional support throughout your first year of operations and to renewal. If you are happy then you can receive ongoing support beyond that through a School of Drones Pro membership.


GVC course flow diagram

The GVC Theory Course forms the first step towards your CAA Operational Authorisation (until 31st December 2020 this is known as a PfCO).

The Operational Authorisation (OA) is held by a legal entity such as a limited company or an individual sole trader. This is a great post to explain a legal entity.  Anybody operating under the OA must prove they are competent in the theoretical and practical aspects required by the CAA.

The GVC Theory Course covers all unmanned aircraft from 0-20kg (25kg after 31st December 2020), regardless of aircraft type, so it covers both fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft.

The other aspect of your application is the Operations Manual. As we work through this theory course we will begin to relate the course content to the Operations Manual and therefore its practical application.

The Practical Flight Test fulfils the CAA requirements with regard to practical competence. The practical competence is categorised by maximum take-off mass and aircraft type. The Practical Flight Test is designed to test both your flying skills and the practical application of the knowledge and operational processes covered in the Theory Course. Drone Training Ltd provides £1M public liability insurance for your Practical Flight Test. We are not able to provide insurance for your equipment.

Once you have completed all elements we will then assist you with your application to the CAA. The CAA can take up to 28 WORKING days to process your application and issue your Operational Authorisation.

As regulations in this young industry are still evolving, it is important that you keep yourself up-to-date with any changes and we assist you with that mainly through this web portal as part of your Global Drone Training Pro Membership. closed facebook group

Once you have successfully passed the Operational Assessment you will receive an invitation to join the closed Facebook group.

The group is for anyone who has been through a course with and is moderated by Elliott Corke and Jonathan Carter. It is a useful resource for asking a wider group questions around hardware, regulation and operational issues.

Please see a recent post from Elliott below around the use and purpose of the group.

Don’t use Facebook?

If you do not use Facebook then do not worry as all important regulation updates are posted to the news page. This includes an increasing amount of content exclusively for people who have been through training with us.

As numbers have grown again and I’m starting to lose track of posts a little bit, just a few things from people have nudged me to write this. There is starting to become a real critical mass of very competent people in their own areas on here, but we all have things we don’t know, can improve etc. and we really do want this to be a place for collaboration and personal/business development. I will be populating the School of Drones portal with useful general information, but this is still going to be a good place for all kinds of assistance. Please do remember that there will always be those less experienced than you so please be nice!

1) Can you sell things? Certainly, second-hand sales are fine. Please make sure you describe the item well, state the price and collection details clearly and provide good photographs. We can’t take responsibility for any transactions organised between group members.

2) Can you post your own work? Definitely. All members are welcome to post their own work or even work they find inspiring. Please don’t be offended if moderators delete duplicate posts.

3) Can we invite anyone? No. This group is very deliberately for instructors and current and past candidates of At least that way we mostly know people are singing from the same song sheet. There are a good number of open FB groups that people can join.

4) Is Jonathan really scared of cows? Yes, did he mention it?

Elliott Corke

Director, Drone Training Ltd

Operational Assessment without PfCO Support

Includes VAT
  • Access to current UK legislation updates
  • Public liability insurance for the Operational Assessment
  • Operational Assessment
  • 10% discount code for Airdata UAV (
  • Access to discounted drone equipment

operational assessment

Although you are exempt from undertaking a Theoretical Competence Course, you will still be required to pass a theory check during your Operational Assessment. This covers some aspects that we cannot check during an Operational Assessment such as what to do if you aircraft has a “fly away”, but it also tests your understanding of the ANO and in particular Articles 94, 94A-G and 95.

When you are ready to undertake your Operational Assessment you will need to book a time with your examiner. You should have received contact details within 2 working days of purchasing the Operational Assessment with PfCO Support.

During the Operational Assessment you will be expected to use and complete the appropriate paperwork as if it was a genuine operation. You will be assessed on your preparation and procedures as well as your flying.

Full details on how you will be assed will be provided on School of Drones once you have booked an Operational Assessment. If you need more information before you book, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

permission for commercial operations

permission for commercial operations

Once you have successfully passed the Operational Assessment you will receive an email with instructions for preparing your documentation for the application for a Permission For Commercial Operations (PfCO).

Remember you will only going on to this phase if you are not going to be working under an existing PfCO or you a team member where it is someone else’s responsibility to create the Operations Manual and apply to the CAA for a PfCO!

As well as needing to have public liability insurance that meets the EC 785/2004 regulation in place, or a cover note to that effect (see this FAQ on insurance for more information), the SUA (Small Unmanned Aircraft) operator must also submit an Operations Manual to the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) during the application procedure. The Operations Manual Support in the School of Drones will guide you through this process to make sure that all relevant information is included in the Operations Manual.

The Operations Manual and insurance forms will be checked by the team who will also setup your online application for you so that all you have to is to check through the application pages and make payment to the CAA for the PFCO application.


The current cost of a PfCO is £253 for first application and £190 for renewals.

School of Drones

...we will be there to support you!

school of drones membership

Undertaking an Operational Assessment with enrols you automatically into a membership with the School of Drones. This lasts for 12 months following your Operational Assessment and provides you access to the latest training resources, email and telephone advice with your operations, and regulation updates. It is also enables you to create up to date Operations Manuals and, if you have purchased PfCO support, it entitles you to the documentation check and preparation of your PfCO renewal.

You will be invited to the School of Drones Membership following the Operational Assessment.

Membership after 12 months is subject to a monthly fee and is entirely optional! We hope you will benefit from the resources we make available for you but there is no obligation to take them.

Your certifications once attained are yours and remain valid and recognised by the CAA indefinitely under current rules.