UK Drone Laws: The GVC And Using Your PfCO (Video)

UK Drone Laws: The GVC And Using Your PfCO (Video)

Third in a series about new UK drone laws starting in July. The video looks at the GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) and what to do with your PfCO.

Last updated: Mar 19, 2021

5 minute read

UPDATE (June 8, 2020): The European drone regulations which were set to start in the UK in July, and then in November, have been delayed for a second time and will now start on December 31, 2020. Read more about it and how it affects you here.

Ahead of new European drone regulations starting in the UK in December, heliguy™ is publishing a series of educational videos on our YouTube channel to help you understand the rules and how they will impact you. To reach as many people as possible, we will also publish this video series on our blog, with a full transcript of each video.

This is the third video in the series. The others are:

Transcript: UK Drone Laws – Part Three, The GVC Course And What To Do If You Have A PfCO

Please note that some of the information in the transcript has been changed to reflect the delayed start to the drone regulations in the UK.

Hello and welcome to this, the third video in our series talking about the new EU regulations.

I'm Ben, the Head of Training, here at Heliguy, and in this video we're going to be talking specifically about the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate and Operational Authorisations. So without further ado, let's get straight into it.

The Switch From NQEs To RAEs

So, as we've already talked about in the previous videos, the new European regulations come into effect on December 31 this year, and they're going to affect the current provision of the PfCO, in that the syllabus of the current course is changing to meet the requirements of the new GVC - the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate.

So, in the run-up to December 31, 2020, you'll start to see less NQEs exist and more RAEs, or Recognised Assessment Entities, such as Heliguy. We have transitioned to become a Recognised Assessment Entity so we can deliver both the A2 CofC course and the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate course, as well as some bolt-on modules which we'll talk more about later in the video.

What Happens If You Have A Valid PfCO?

So, to kick us off, the biggest question that we're being asked at the moment is 'I have a valid Permission for Commercial Operation, what's going to happen to me?'

Well, in short, providing that you continue to keep the Permission for Commercial Operation valid through past the transition of December 31, then you can continue to operate with the same provisions currently afforded by your PfCO.

Upon the first renewal of your Permission for Commercial Operation after December 31, 2020, then your PfCO will change into an Operational Authorisation, but you'll be pleased to hear that there's no additional training requirement.

The term 'grandfathered' is being used to describe that process, meaning that your qualifications as they stand today under the PfCO scheme will continue to apply and be valid against the Operational Authorisation.

If, however, the PfCO expires, even for a day after the time in which the new European regulations come into effect, then, unfortunately, your qualifications become null and void and you'd have to sit the GVC - the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate course - starting back at the start again.

What You Need To Do On The GVC Course

So, talking about the GVC course - what it looks like and what's going to entail?

Well, the syllabus is already available to look at at CAP722 Bravo, and that's what NQEs or RAEs use to abide by the CAA syllabus and design the courses around that structure.

The syllabus looks very similar to the current PfCO with a few additions and a few changes - obviously to incorporate the change in regulations as we're going to see over the next few months.

Now, the critical elements required to obtain an Operational Authorisation remain pretty much the same as the current PfCO offerings, in that the candidate has to sit a GVC ground school, unless they have an existing aviation qualification as detailed in CAP722.

The next stage is that once you've completed the theoretical examination -part of the GVC ground school - you have to produce an Operations Manual that's approved by the RAE.

The final critical element is conducting a Practical Flight Assessment, where you're assessed against your ability to operate strictly in accordance with the procedures outlined in your Operations Manual and of course that you have the required remote pilot skill to operate the aircraft.

Once those three critical elements have been achieved, then you get issued a recommendation for an Operational Authorisation. It's then that you can submit your application, either as an individual or as an organisation, to get an Operational Authorisation.

BVLOS And EVLOS - GVC Bolt-on Modules

There are additional bolt-on modules which you can complete with a Recognised Assessment Entity in the form of the BVLOS and EVLOS - Beyond Visual Line of Sight and Extended Visual Line of Sight - and these are going to be published as Standard Scenarios (STS).

With the CAA's proposed scheme of charges, we see that it does cost some money - a quite reasonable amount actually, around about £125 - in order to add the EVLOS or BVLOS STS' once they become available.

They are currently not available but they will be published in the not-too-distant future. The majority of this is all practical-based assessments. There is no theoretical knowledge - or should I say mandatory theoretical knowledge - however the majority of RAEs will probably offer some form of theoretical learning as part of that process.

It does also require the necessary procedures to be added to the Operations Manual - the OSC (Operating Safety Case) - so that the EVLOS or BVLOS procedures specifically are differentiated from standard or normal operating procedures.

Stay Tuned For More Content

So that is a very quick overview of the coming GVC - the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate - course which is now available with Heliguy. We will, of course, announce the additions of the EVLOS and BVLOS modules as they come available and we can start to offer those going forward in the future.

So I hope you found this video helpful.

If you have any comments then, by all means, leave them in the comments below and we'll get around to answering those as soon as we can.

If you enjoyed this video then hit that thumbs up button, and don't forget to subscribe to the channel to see lots more content coming out in the not-too-distant future.

Thanks very much for watching and I'll see you next time.

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