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CAA Drone Training: Full Course (PfCO)

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

Heliguy is committed to providing unbeatable drone training for aspiring commercial 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) certification and to become a confident, fully qualified drone professional.

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

Please Note: Our drone training courses are available on interest free finance from £39.97 per month – call 0191 296 1024 or

Our course costs don't include any hidden fees, what you see is what you get. We offer a comprehensive support network to every one of our trainees from their initial Ground School course to Operations Manual production and even beyond the drone flight test with advice on renewals and additional permissions just a phone call away.

What to Expect When You Attend Heliguy's Drone Training

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 drone operation standards and knowledge of UK air law. Our expert training staff will bring you up to speed with the latest advances in the drone 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.
  • Drone 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 drone, completion of a real-world assignment scenario as well as carrying out all necessary checks and notifications just as you would on a commercial contract.
CAA Training Timetable
Day 1
Day 2
Day 3
Lesson 1
AirlawHuman FactorsOperations Manual & Flight Assessment Prep
Lesson 2 Airspace Operating ProceduresAircraft KnowledgeOperating Procedures
Lesson 3
Navigation & ChartsAirmanship & Aviation SafetyPlanning Exercises
Lesson 4SummarySummaryTheroy Test

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

Day One
Heliguy CAA Training Ground School Day One

An introduction to drones for both new and experienced pilots. By the end of the day, you'll know your IMU from your ESCs, the difference between Course Lock & 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 then complete your Ops Manual before taking the practical flight test. 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.


How Does Our Drone Training Differ from Other NQE Providers?

Heliguy's course has been designed to give you the best possible start in offering professional drone services. Our course isn't available to take online as we believe that providing our trainees face-to-face support from expert course instructors is a lot more valuable than unguided remote working.

There are no hidden fees with Heliguy, what you see is what you get and we don't charge you for any retakes of examinations that are required, letting you focus on passing without the stress of additional outlay. This also includes Operations Manual support; our team are there to support you long after the course has been completed with insights and advice as we believe in building lasting relationships with our trainees.

While the majority of NQEs charge extra (up to £200) for the addition of night flying to your Operations Manual and subsequently your CAA application, Heliguy offers guidance and support on this absolutely free.

We also offer interest free drone training finance (from £39.97 per month) to help you get started on our course.

Having been built on the mantra that our clients are the most important thing to our business – we've brought this into our approach to training. We aren't some faceless organisation, Heliguy is here to help you from your initial inquiry right through to your first commercial flight and beyond.

If you want to learn more about what sets us apart from the competition – you can give our team a call on 0191 296 1024 or email with an enquiry.


Heliguy offers rewards for successful referrals to our drone training courses. If someone you've referred signs up to our PfCO training you'll get £50 credit in the Heliguy online store. Plus, your referral will get £50 off the total training cost.

Operations Manual Support

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 plus you're guaranteed free lifetime support as your business develops.

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

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

Drone Flight Assessment Test

The drone 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. 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.

Drone Training Locations


Please contact the team before booking at 0191 296 1024 or


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 drone training course schedule for 2016 / 2017. The maximum number of students is 16 per course.

Bespoke 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.

Drone Training FAQs

What are the lead times on Heliguy’s drone 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 take my drone 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 drone flight test?

There are no additional charges – you can re-sit the flight test with our instructors for free.

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’s drone training course 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 drone flight 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 drone and have already completed 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.

Does passing Heliguy’s training course get me a drone license?

On completing the course and after the subsequent application process to the CAA, you will be awarded with Permissions for Commercial Operation which act as a sort of license and allows you to legally operate drones for profit.

Do I need to take a test to fly drones at night?

Not at all. Night Permission can be added to your PfCO for no additional charge. We will provide guidance on the process for integrating this into your Operations Manual, whilst outlining the risk mitigation and human factors aspect of flying at night.

Why can't I attend your drone training course 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.

Showing 10 of our total 54 reviews, with an average rating of 5 stars. Read all 54 reviews for CAA Drone Training: Full Course (PfCO).
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Review Summary - 5 out of 5 based on 54 ratings.
September 15, 2017 | Mark Trainor-Hayes

From my first contact with Heliguy right the way to completing the course, has been one of the very best courses I have ever done. Nothing is too much trouble and they make sure everyone has some time to spend with them. They are a company that want to have long term relationships and it's not just about the money. A fantastic course and people. Thank you Heliguy's for getting me this far so far.

September 15, 2017 | Martin Clayton
PfCO course

I thoroughly enjoyed the course even though there was a vast amount of information to take in. It was delivered in a concise a easy manner. Plenty of re-caps ensured that the subjects were sinking in. Very enjoyable with a friendly team and students alike.

September 15, 2017 | Kevin McAleer
Great course, perfectly delivered.

I attended the PfCO course in Manchester, and though the course is quite intensive it certainly delivers the goods. A great training team and thoughtfully crafted slides ensured we all learned the material effectively and quickly. Really enjoyed it and met some great people along the way.

September 7, 2017 | Peter Rees
Exceeded expectations!

The level of instruction and quality of venue were better than I could have hoped for. At times the subject area is a little daunting but this course did a great job making the relevant info stick in all of our minds - allowing us all to pass with flying colours.

August 30, 2017 | Tim Browne
Ground School

Really really great course and Hotel

August 26, 2017 | Les Jacobs
Exceeded expectations

During my many years in my present employ I have been on more courses than I can care to remember.
This one however, will I feel, stick in my mind for some considerable time, if not forever for all the right reasons I must add.
The service and hospitality of the staff at the Elvetham venue Hampshire was truely great, the lunches ,coffee,tea,biscuits cakes, and even the added sweets were just superb, best I have so far come across in all the venues I have been to in my lifetime.
Then the course and the instructors/tutors Ben and Tom. It's going to be difficult to put this in words but I will try.
The atmosphere throughout the entire course made me feel that I belonged there relaxed,jovial,informative,helpful with a sprinkling of exceptionally good humor.
When the first day had finished I thought my head was going to explode with all the information that had remarkably been taught and gone in, 2 nd day was the same but while you are in the room listening it does not feel like a system overload due to the extremely confident and informative way that you are being taught.
I thoroughly enjoyed this course many thanks to Ben and Tom and all the other 15 candidates in the room who I feel enjoyed it as well.

August 26, 2017 | Martin Stear
drone training

The whole course was very profesionnaly delivered and made it fun to do Tom and Ben interact well with each other and make you feel at ease and you can ask any question you like and wont be laughed at if even if the question is totally wrong They sit with you at meals and are very easy to talk to I did my course at Farnbrough and found the factilites very good food was excellent and so where the staff i highly recomend you do this course with Heli Guy

August 16, 2017 | Rob Bolam
CAA Approval for Wrexham Glyndwr University

We are delighted to have finally submitted our UAS Operations Manual and SRG 1320 application form to the CAA. Throughout this process the training team at Heliguy have guided us in a very professional manner and provided excellent advice and support. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend their services to any organisation wishing to apply for CAA Permission for Commercial Operations.

August 12, 2017 | Jeremey Cleine

Really enjoyed the course! I struggled with the Operations Manual but the lads helped me with everything i needed. Would recommend Heliguy to anyone that wants to pursue a future flying drones commercially

August 7, 2017 | Steve Perkins
Only what you need to know and delivered in a clear and engaging manner

Highly recommend this course to UAV pilots looking to take their skills into a commercial setting. Lectures were clear and relevant with no padding to fill the time. The trainers are engaging and approachable and deliver their lectures in bite sized-chunks that allow the candidates to digest the new information fully. If nothing else, this course opens your eyes to the legalities and complexities of flying in U.K. Airspace that most new UAV pilots would never be aware of otherwise. Plenty of decent coffee, tea, snacks and soft drinks to keep you on the boil throughout. Thoroughly enjoyed my three days at Heliguy and recommend this course wholeheartedly!


Very quick delivery. Excellent product (gimbal ribbon for phantom 3 standard)- works fine , unlike many after market ribbons

September 12,2017


Great service as always.

September 11,2017


Excellent turnaround

September 10,2017


Very please with the fast delivery.

September 9,2017


Very helpfull very knowledgeable will shop there again.

September 8,2017


No probs! Was a little wary about paying with Amazon pay as I'd never used it before but all was well...

September 6,2017


Excellent communication and best 0% on offer

September 4,2017


Great service. Speedy delivery. Hassle free purchase. Will do business again in the future

September 2,2017


Use them regularly, Always brilliant, really.

September 2,2017


very good

September 2,2017





From: Paul Little


Steve actioned my request for crash cover swiftly despite there being an online problem. I also found Steve to be enthusiastic and polite and is a credit to Heliguy along with the rest of his colleagues. Well done everyone, a pleasure dealing with you all.




From: Simon


Very happy with my purchase - a great deal from Heliguy and would happily buy from them again. They shipped really quickly and delivery was easy in a one hour timeslot too.




From: Doug Harding


I would like to congratulate the team on some exceptional service that I recently had. I got in touch with Kevin in Repairs recently as I only a few days before heading to Croatia when my Mavic Camera Gimbal decided to have a malfunction. He took upon himself to do everything in his power to ensure it was couriered to you from Surrey and returned in time for my departure. I can't tell you how delighted I was to see it arrive prior to leaving as my continued work with a work provider depended on me Droning this particular Cycle cruise. Doug Harding (Principal Stills Photographer - Sail Croatia)




From: Kris


Steve Mapps is really helpful man,he explains me everything very clear I can recommend him everyone. Thanks Kris




From: Jack


Really helpful




From: Henrike Bird


Fantastic help today, and we didn't even want to buy anything! First class service from a first class company.




From: Clare miller


Fast, efficient & friendly!




From: Aaron


In all honesty, this guy (and heliguy of course) saved my helicopter hobby and fascination for me. I am the happy owner of a 400 heli again and cannot get enough of it. The help and service recieved is above and beyond and is completely genuine as it goes. Thank you Scott and Heliguy.




From: Mark Titcombe


Matt was very helpful and made me feel like a valued customer, great job!




From: Nigel Brogan


great support form the tech guys and very fast response