special Permissions for commercial drone pilots

osc consultancy with heliguy

Build a tailored OSC to suit your commercial operations.

Expand Your Enterprise With A Drone Operating Safety Case

An Operating Safety Case (OSC) allows drone pilots to operate outside Standard Permissions from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) - and Heliguy's OSC consultancy will help operators achieve these special permissions to expand the potential of their drone flights.

Accessing an OSC can be crucial for drone operators, enabling them to push the boundaries of their operations, which can increase the effectiveness of missions and provide a competitive edge.

Heliguy's OSC specialist, Josh, (pictured), was a UAS Technical Surveyor at the CAA, responsible for the evaluation, development and approval of OSC applications. This means he is well versed in the process and requirements of building this document.

This will save time in creating an effective and compliant OSC and should stop the need to go through potentially costly reviews and rewrites with the CAA - saving you money in the process.

Applicants will have access to constant support and advice - including a mentoring and review service prior to submission, as well as a project manager to provide updates. Applicants will also be able to take advantage of Heliguy's entire ecosystem of hardware supply and support, repairs and R&D, and CAA-approved drone training. This helps to provide continuity and standardise the establishment and growth of commercial drone programmes.

"The demand for OSCs has exploded and it is growing year after year, so the time was right to add OSCs to Heliguy’s comprehensive range of services. Our intention is to help our applicants build tailored and effective OSCs which will expand the scope of their operations and push the boundaries of what they can do with their drones.” 

Josh, OSC Specialist For Heliguy

DRONE operating safety case - A GUIDE   

How an OSC can help your business.

What Is An OSC?

An OSC (Operational Safety Case) is a complex, three-volume operations manual that is submitted to the CAA and enables pilots to operate outside of the confines of a Standard Permission - formerly a PfCO, now an Operational Authorisation. 

Following the start of new drone laws in the UK (which started on December 31, 2020), an OSC enables drone operations to be conducted outside the parameters of UKPDRA01 for the Specific Category.

An OSC is required for numerous operational procedures, such as:

Flying less than 50m from uninvolved people/properties.

Flying less than 50m horizontally of assemblies of people.

Flying more than 400ft above the earth's surface.

Conducting EVLOS or BVLOS missions.

The intent is to ensure that the required operational safety requirements have been met and best practice is adopted by drone operators in the UK.

The aim of the OSC is to present sufficient evidence that all relevant hazards and resultant safety risks have been identified within an operation and that these safety risks have been reduced to a Tolerable and As Low As Reasonably Practicable (ALARP) level.

How Does A Drone OSC Help Me?

To put it simply, having an OSC enables pilots to fly in more places and more situations. It enables them to push the boundaries of their drone operations.

This can open up new avenues of business and provide a competitive edge. After all, there's not many operators with an OSC, so this shows another level of industry expertise and can potentially lead to more lucrative job contracts as a result.  

For instance, an OSC enables pilots and organisations to operate in some of the most unique locations available and in ways that those operating under a Standard Permission can only dream of.

There may also be occasions where you have been restricted by the standard limitations and were forced to employ expensive contractors to facilitate the requirement. Having an OSC can stop this happening.

"With enterprise drone use on the increase, it may be more cost-effective to develop your own internal drone programme and maintain organisational governance. Obtaining an OSC can be a crucial and prudent part of this process." 

Josh, Heliguy's OSC Specialist

OSC Applications On The Rise

The growing demand for OSCs is highlighted by recent stats from the CAA, which show a rise in the demand for non-standard permissions.

Over the last few years, OSC applications have jumped from 120 in 2018 to 173 in 2020.

Likewise, the number of Standard Permissions received has also increased.

This shows that more and more people are harnessing the power of drone technology for commercial jobs. After all, drones help to make missions more efficient, as well as improve safety, and collect accurate data - driving ROI in the process.


Non-standard Permissions (OSCs) Received

Standard Permissions Received










What Do I Have To Do To Get A CAA Drone OSC?

Operators are required to submit a bulk of information to the CAA to obtain an OSC.

For the majority of applications, this information needs to be presented across three volumes.

These volumes are:

  • Operations Manual: Comprehensive summary covering a range of areas, including type of operation, logs/records, security/privacy, emergency response plan, operational procedures, UAS operator responsibility/duties, and company safety policy, and more. 
  • UAS System(S): In-depth submission about the type of aircraft(s) to be used, including technical information, and payload requirements.
  • Safety Risk Assessment: Identify, assess, manage and record Safety Risks associated with an operation.    

The individual OSC volumes that need to be submitted to the CAA depend on the relative complexity of the operation - as shown in this table below. 

Mass (kg)

Operating examples

Volume 1

Volume 2

Volume 3

25kg or less

Standard Permission
(Commercial ops and/or less than 150m of congested areas)




Fly less than 50m from uninvolved people/properties;
Fly less than 50m horizontally of assemblies of people;
Fly more than 400ft above the surface;




Over 25kg

Low Complexity UAS
Rural Environment




Low Complexity UAS and/or Semi-rural




High Complexity UAS and/or Complex Airspace/Congested Area




What Qualifications Are Needed To Apply For An OSC?

What Expertise Is Needed?

An operational safety case is available to single operators, all the way through to large commercial drone programmes.  

However, before an OSC proposal can be submitted to the CAA, the individual or organisation must be issued with either:

  • CAA Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO)
  • Operational Authorisation, via a General Visual Line of Sight (GVC) certificate.
  • Equivalent training qualification and Operational Authorisation from a National Aviation Authority (NAA), other than the UK CAA, which is recognised as the same standard by the CAA.

Applicants who are not in possession of the above will be limited in their ability to apply for certain types of OSC, as remote pilot experience is a significant factor in the assessment of the eligibility to be granted an OSC. 

Anyone in this position can still work with Heliguy for an OSC, undertaking a GVC course prior to applying for an OSC. 

OSC Consultancy with heliguy   

Dedicated support to help you build a tailored OSC.

Why Choose Heliguy?

Heliguy's one-stop-shop approach to the drone industry provides comprehensive coverage to commercial drone programmes, from start up to scale. The OSC consultancy service is another element of this, helping enterprise drone operators unleash the true potential of their UAS. 

And there are multiple benefits of choosing Heliguy as your OSC consultant. These include:

Experienced Consultant

Your OSC specialist, Josh, was a UAS Technical Surveyor at the CAA, responsible for the evaluation, development and approval of OSC applications.

This experience will streamline the OSC process and help applicants build a compliant and bespoke OSC.

He said: “My background has enabled me to develop a comprehensive understanding of the ever-developing OSC requirements, the best practices, and the regulators’ thought processes around risk."

Your OSC, Your Input

While other OSC consultation services will build an OSC for you, the Heliguy system is heavily reliant on the involvement of the client.

Josh said: "Actively involving the applicant is crucial, as it ensures they have a comprehensive understanding of their bespoke OSC, which is tailored to their operations.

"It also improves flight safety, as each client is involved in the OSC, and can reduce costs down the line."

Save Time And Money

Thanks to your OSC specialist's experience - combined with our OSC review service before submission to the CAA - we're confident applications will be approved at the first time of asking.

This will avoid the lengthy and costly process of having to go back and forth with the CAA to tweak and correct your OSC to obtain approval. 

After all, the CAA charges £257 an hour - following the initial submission fee of £1,799 (inclusive of 7 hours) - so your bill could quickly rack up if your OSC needs reworking. 

Training And Workshops

Heliguy's training team runs industry-specific closed courses for the emergency services and large organisations - and we are doing the same for OSC applicants.

If you or your organisation needs practical training on certain aspects of your OSC, our training team will facilitate this through a bespoke closed course, to give you confidence on your mission and ensure you are flying safely and effectively.

The team will also run dedicated workshops ahead of the OSC process to help you decide whether the OSC is the right way to go.

Access Heliguy Ecosystem

Don't just use Heliguy's OSC consultation service: Benefit from our whole ecosystem of services, including hardware supply and support, drone-pilot training, repairs and R&D. 

This provides continuity and helps to standardise operations - especially useful for scaling drone programmes. 

The OSC service is part of our dedicated training provision, which includes online GVC/A2 CofC training, streamlined Operations Manual generation and renewal, and constant support.  

What Is The Process?

The OSC consultancy has a multi-step approach – with support throughout the process – to help you build an in-depth, bespoke, and compliant document.


Free Consultation
Your OSC specialist will discuss your aspirations and expectations – ensuring they are realistic and achievable.
Honesty and transparency are key: If you don't need an OSC for your operations, we won't tell you to pursue this route.

Statement Of Work
After the initial discussion - and if an OSC is deemed appropriate for your operational requirements - you will receive a free no-obligation quotation and a statement of work.
Once you are happy to proceed, you can move onto step three - building your OSC with Heliguy by your side.

Build Your OSC

We'll help you build an OSC which is tailored to your operations, making it as flexible as it needs to be.
Each applicant will be assigned a project manager, to keep you updated on the progress of your project. Also, access regular contact with your OSC specialist.

Submit to CAA
We will review your OSC proposal before it is submitted to the CAA.
This final review, combined with the experience of your OSC specialist, should reduce the need to go through multiple rewrites/reviews. But if this is needed, we will offer support to get you over the line.

How Long Will It Take?

OSC Time-scales

Because no OSC is the same, there is no definitive time-scale for an OSC. 

However, applicants will be kept up to date throughout the process.

Heliguy also values quality over time; helping each applicant build, understand, and then deliver a comprehensive and comprehensive OSC through an effective 360 approach.

Your OSC specialist's experience, should, however, streamline the process as much as possible.

Once an OSC is submitted to the CAA, it can take around 6-8 weeks to be processed, although this can be extended depending on the workload.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about an OSC

What does OSC stand for?

The term OSC stands for Operating Safety Case. However, some people refer to it as an Operational Safety Case.

When do I need an OSC?

Drone pilots will need an OSC when wanting to operate outside the normal boundaries of a Standard Permission.

These operations include flying less than 50m from uninvolved people/properties; flying less than 50m horizontally of assemblies of people; operating more than 400ft above the surface; and conducting EVLOS (Extended Visual Line of Sight) or BVLOS (Beyond Visual Line of Sight) missions.

How much does an OSC cost?

There is not a definitive price for an OSC, because no OSC is the same.

However, all applications need to be submitted to the CAA. A CAA submission costs up to £1,799 (inclusive of seven hours), and then £257 an hour after that.

The price of an annual renewal with the CAA is £514.

How do I submit an OSC?

An OSC can be submitted to the CAA via a SRG 1320 Form. 

How long does an OSC take to prepare?

There is no definitive timescale for preparing and building an OSC application, as each OSC is different from another.

However, once submitted, it can take the CAA up to eight weeks to approve. This timeframe can be extended during periods of high workload.  

How long does an OSC last for?

Following approval by the CAA, an OSC lasts for 12 months (unless the permission is rescinded for breaches, for instance). After 12 months, you can apply for a renewal.

Can I do an OSC on my own?

Yes you can, by following a template here.

However, you can streamline this process, and be supported throughout, by using Heliguy's OSC consultancy service.

How do I become a qualified drone pilot?

Depending on your operational requirements, you can take an A2 CofC or a GVC course.

The A2 CofC is for drone pilots flying in the Open category.

Operators wanting to fly in the Specific category (geared at the majority of enterprise pilots) will require an Operational Authorisation (which replaced the PfCO). For this, a GVC is required. 

To find out more, read our in-depth UK Drone Laws blog