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CAA Drone Training: Full Course (PfCO)

Get your PfCO (Formerly PfAW)
Code: caa-drone-training
  • £1,439.10
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  • Was £1,599.00
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Drone Training to Secure CAA PfCO (formerly PfAW)

Heliguy is committed to providing unbeatable training for commercial drone pilots. Approved by the CAA as a National Qualified Entity (NQE), we provide everything you need to gain your Commercial Drone Operations Training (C-DOT) and to become a confident, fully qualified multi-rotor drone pilot.

We have taken a unique approach to our training schools. While we cover all of the important components on the NQE syllabus, we also offer a level of experience-led industry guidance to prospective UAV / UAS pilots that is unavailable elsewhere.

Here's what to expect each day on Heliguy's C-DOT course:

Day One
Heliguy CAA Training Ground School Day One

An introduction for both new and experienced pilots. By the end of the day, you’ll know your IMU from your EMCs, the difference between Course Lock and Home Lock, which drone suits you and how to fly it correctly and safely. You’ll also learn the importance of airspace and aviation charts as well as being provided with an explanation of Air Law and instruction on the different categories of airspace. There are also in-depth sessions on Airmanship and the Human Factors of aviation.

Day Two

After taking a look at human factors, we move onto the Operations Manual, a document that every commercial drone business needs. It contains health and safety information as well as managerial and technical procedures specific to how you plan to operate. This is followed by risk assessments as well as pre-flight and on-site surveys and procedures.

Heliguy CAA Training Ground School Day Two
Day Three
Heliguy CAA Training Ground School Day Three

We begin with a planning exercise and a discussion about the importance of weather patterns before moving on to the theory exam (75% pass mark). Should you fail, re-sits are free but you must wait for ten days. Once you've passed the Ground School, you'll take the Pilot Practical Assessment before completing the Ops Manual. Finalising this document is the trainee's responsibility. You will then be able to secure a PfCO (previously PfAW) from the CAA as a form of drone licence.


Operations Manual

You are responsible for preparing your own Operations Manual. However, Heliguy is here to advise you how to best achieve this. Our insider knowledge and technical expertise are at your disposal, helping you complete this important document.

The second section consists of Flight Reference Cards (FRCs) which contain details of your aircraft, site surveys, risk assessments, pre- and post-flight checks, and safety procedures. This must be completed before you are able to undertake the Pilot Practical Assessment.

Your Operations Manual is a key document that should be very carefully thought through, used regularly and updated in line with the evolution of your business.

Operations Manual covers: 1.) The nature of your business 2.) What you are flying 3.) Risk mitigation
Heliguy CAA Training Practical Flight Test

Practical Flight Assessment Test

The Practical Flight Assessment will normally take place within 4-6 weeks of completing the drone training theory course dependent on good weather. You'll need to allow 2-3 hours for the test.

The test is designed to check flight planning, safety skills and piloting ability. You'll be given an assignment which you'll have to research as you would for a commercial job. After receiving the brief you'll be expected to check the weather, flight charts, NOTAMS and, if necessary, contact Air Traffic Control before heading to the location.

Once you arrive, you’re required to conduct a site survey and risk assessment. You'll then need to carry out the assignment while preparing for simulated emergencies. For example, it could be a loss of transmission or another aircraft entering your flying area.

You'll then have to carry out simple manoeuvres in two flight modes - GPS and ATTI. It's definitely worth practising with the latter mode, not just for the test, but also to improve your overall skill as a pilot. For aerial filming, proficiency with ATTI can be vital when you're trying to achieve smooth shots.



  Philip Bloom





Drone Training Locations


Please contact the team before booking: Call 0191 296 1024


Newcastle - Heliguy Headquarters

Unit 9, Jupiter Court, Orion Business Park, North Shields, Tyne & Wear, NE29 7SE


Newcastle Venue


Manchester - Shrigley Hall

Pott Shrigley, Cheshire, SK10 5SB


Shrigley Hall Venue


Farnborough - The Elvetham Hotel

Hartley Wintney, Hampshire, RG27 8AS


Farnborough Venue




See the drop-down menu at the top of this page for our training course schedule for 2016 / 2017. The maximum number of students is 16 per course.


Closed courses are available for groups of 8 or more. Please get in touch to arrange.

For more information on how Heliguy's training differs from the BNUC, RPQ, etc, please read this blog post.

Training FAQs

What are the lead times on Heliguy’s training from start to finish?

The average candidate takes 1-2 months to complete the whole process. This varies on the candidate’s motivation available time to commit.


Can I do my flight test the same week as my Ground School?

You can as long as your Operations Manual has been approved by us in advance. However, it’s recommended that you take some time to absorb the information and use this opportunity practice what you have learned over the course of the week.


Are there any other costs after the Ground School?

The CAA charge for the initial submission, and then charge 50% of the submission fee for the yearly renewal of your permissions (These costs are subject to change – contact the CAA for the most up to date information).


What if I fail my practical test?

We charge a flat £199 inc. VAT fee for a practical resit. In the event that you were to fail, we would provide you with a debrief assessing the points where you went wrong etc.


Can I fly a drone without gaining my PfCO from the CAA?

You can as a hobbyist, but not as a commercial operator in the UK.


Why is Heliguy the best choice for me?

We don’t rely on distance learning. Our 3-day ground school provides the essential face-to-face contact to deliver the course syllabus and answer as many questions you may have. We also have no hidden fees and you’re guaranteed lifetime support for your Operations Manual from Heliguy.


Do I need to retrain or annually retake a test?

No, you simply need to renew your PfCO with the CAA. We can provide you with assistance when the time comes.


What if I need a larger aircraft and have already done my PfCO?

We offer flight tests for 7-20Kg aircraft. Get in touch to find out more from our Training Team. If you’re changing the aircraft you’re using, you will need to amend your Operations Manual to reflect this.

UAV Training Courses in the UK with Heliguy

Heliguy offers a holistic approach to UAV and drone training approved by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). With a focus on machine-specific instruction and a comprehensive understanding of the marketplace, we can instruct you on everything from the basics, to successfully joining the commercial drone sector with a professional drone pilot qualification from the UK CAA. It doesn't matter whether you have aviation experience or not - Heliguy will guide you through the basics of UAV flight towards a commercial knowledge.



What to Expect from the Course

Our full CAA-approved drone course takes place over a 3-day period in locations across the UK and teaches you everything you need to know to become a proficient drone pilot.

The sections covered in our UAV training syllabus include:

  • Ground School: The theory section of our training gives you an understanding of the equipment you'll be using as well as safe operation standards and knowledge of UK air law. Our expert training staff will bring you up to speed with the latest advances in the industry and by the end of the Ground School, after successful completion of the theory exam, you will have the confidence to proceed to the final steps before receiving your permissions.
  • Operations Manual: The most important document for licensed drone pilots, the Operations Manual outlines how you intend to use your drone in a commercial capacity. We will instruct and guide you through the completion of your Manual, providing insights into crafting a thorough document which meets CAA criteria. Upon completion of your course, this must be updated regularly in line with your business.
  • Flight Test: The practical section of the training allows you to demonstrate the skills you have learned throughout our course. This includes control of the craft, completion of a real-world assignment scenario as well as carrying out all necessary checks and notifications just as you would in a commercial scenario.


CAA Training Timetable
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Lesson 1
AirlawAircraft KnowledgeRecap & Weather
Lesson 2 Maps & ChartsHuman FactorsOperating Procedures
Lesson 3
Airspace ClassificationOps ManualPlanning Exercises
Lesson 4
Airmanship & Aviation SafetyFlight Test PrepTheory Test

Timings may change depending on the course, the location and to ensure that all topics are covered to the satisfaction of our trainees.



Learn More

Now that you've seen what you can expect from the content and scheduling of our UAS training course, click the 'INFORMATION' tab to learn more about how Heliguy can help you along the pathway to permissions.



Why Can't I Take My Training Online?

Heliguy is a CAA Approved NQE. In order to acquire your permissions, we will need to verify that you have the necessary knowledge to operate a UAV commercially. For us to do so, we need to work with you in the classroom to ensure that all that you have the knowledge, confidence and ability to fly in a safe way.

Will I Get a Licence at the End of the Course?

After completing our CAA Approved course, you'll then need to apply for the CAA for permissions, which we will recommend. After your practical flight test and the submission of your operations manual, you will get a permission from the CAA to fly your UAV for business. It's not a 'licence' as such, but it will allow you to operate commercially.

Showing 10 of our total 23 reviews, with an average rating of 5 stars. Read all 23 reviews for CAA Drone Training: Full Course (PfCO).
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Review Summary - 5 out of 5 based on 23 ratings.
March 8, 2017 |
Safe drone piloting

A no nonsense course if you are thinking of becoming a safe and professional drone pilot.

March 7, 2017 |
Heliguy CAA Drone Training

I attended Heliguy's CAA PfCO drone training course recently, and would thoroughly recommend it to those thinking of using drones for commercial applications, or those who are wishing to formalise their training.

Dan and Tom were excellent trainers and did a great job of communicating sometimes complicated aspects of air law, site surveys, equipment maintenance, operations manual production etc in a clear and straightforward manner. They maintained an informal learning environment which encouraged members of the group to pitch questions or develop discussions at any time. The use of real-world site survey / operation planning exercises on the third day were particularly useful - it might be worth considering how these could also be used on days one and two.

Overall, a great experience. I learnt far more than I expected to, and would now feel confident planning and running a commercial drone operation.

March 7, 2017 |
CAA Drone training

Excellent course, great staff and they explained everything so well and were there to assist at any time.

March 6, 2017 |
A well delivered course by both Dan and Tom

Many thanks guys for your help and support over the 3 days. Would highly recommend this course to future students.

February 28, 2017 |
Excellent training, Excellent venue!

I'd like to thank both Tom Anderson and Dan Wilson for doing an amazing job with the course. Even though everything was very new to me, I felt confident during my test as subjects have been very well covered. I've learned a lot and consider myself much more aware of what's involved in flying a drone than before. The venue in Farnborough is stunning! Beautiful landscape, brilliant catering and exceptional service. Well done Heliguy! I'd recommend this course to anyone interested in flying a drone.

February 7, 2017 |
great course,

I attended this course to allow me to obtain permission for commercial work. having dealt with heliguy previously, and know first hand of their friendly and welcoming customer service, i decided to book with them. the facilities were great. nice and clean, and plenty of refreshments too. parking was easy to find, and 1 minute from the training center. the course tutors were very knowledgeable in their fields of expertise, and took their time to communicate with the learners, to ensure everything was explained clearly and recapped as well to ensure good Q&A sessions after each module. the course itself, although on day 1 was a lot to absorb, by day 2, because you know what to now expect,was easier to comprehend - it was packed with detail, all of which is needed to pass this course. the practical tasks were enjoyable, and was good to work in groups with other learners. The Tutors were always on hand at breaks, so if anyone had a one to one query, or didn't quite understand something, or even needed to just recap, then this was never too much trouble for any of the guys. all in all, a very enjoyable, well presented course. I can say without a doubt i would highly recommend anyone looking to complete their PfCO course, book with Heliguy!

February 3, 2017 |
CAA PfCO Training Review

Could not recommend the training provided by Heliguy enough. A great group of people from sales, support and training. The training was professionally delivered, concise and to the point covering all aspects and opening a lot of eyes to operating as a professional. Facilities and course material were good as well as the advice and support. I would not hesitate to recommend Heliguy for PfCO training or any other SUA needs. Thanks guys.... :-)

January 25, 2017 |

Drone course was well presented, mind blowing in someways, but all on the course got through. The tutors Dave and Tom very informative and very good at the job in hand. Would recommend Heliguy course to all.

January 13, 2017 |
Full Course ( PfCO)

Amazing 3 day course. Tom and Dan are excellent teachers and the other students were very good company. I'm glad I chose HeliGuy for this course. You definitely need 3 days to cover everything in detail. Well done all.

December 21, 2016 |
drone course

very thorough. great guys. if you want to pass then heliguy is the first choice.

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