CAA drone training courses

Drone Training

Get your permission to fly with heliguy™ drone training.

heliguy™ Drone Training

Trusted by UK Emergency Services, Oil & Gas Majors and the AEC industry

heliguy™ is an industry leader in drone training.

Our in-house team of instructors - including ex-military personnel - have vast experience in multirotor and fixed-wing aircraft to empower commercial and enterprise drone operations.

They have taught more than 3,000 candidates and delivered training to the likes of Network Rail, National Grid, Balfour Beatty, London Fire Brigade, Phillips 66, PD Ports, and police forces around the UK.

Through comprehensive and wide-ranging training provision, heliguy™ offers a career pathway to allow organisations to scale their drone programmes, and individual pilots to develop their operational capabilities.

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Who Trains with Us

Take a look at some of the brands and businesses who've trained with heliguy™.

CAA Approved Drone Training

heliguy™ offers a range of CAA-approved drone training courses

A2 CofC Drone Training Course

The A2 CofC is a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) qualification to operate drones in the Open Category.

This course benefits aspiring recreational and commercial remote pilots.

Suitable aircraft for the A2 CofC include the DJI Mavic 3, Mavic 2 Series, Air 2S and Phantom 4 Series.

The A2 CofC enables operations in the A1 subcategory of the Open Category with an A1 Transitional aircraft and A2 subcategory of the Open Category with an A2 Transitional aircraft or C2 aircraft.

Complete the learning and theory test online with heliguy™

Course Timeline

Course Registration

Drone Registration

Online Learning

Self-guided Flight Training

Theory Test Via Webcam

Achieve A2 CofC

GVC Drone Training Course

The GVC is a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) qualification to operate drones in the Specific Category under an Operational Authorisation.

This course benefits aspiring commercial remote pilots.

Suitable aircraft for the GVC include the DJI M300 RTK, M30 Series and Inspire 2. Operators of drones such as the Mavic 3 Enterprise and Phantom 4 RTK may also choose to do the GVC over the A2 CofC.

Upon successful completion, receive the General Visual Line of Sight certificate and submit an application to the CAA for an Operational Authorisation.

Complete the learning and theory test online with heliguy™

Course Timeline

Course Registration

Drone Registration

Online Learning

Theory Test

Operations Manual Generation

Practical Flight Assessment

Operations Manual Completion

CAA Application

Operational Authorisation

Combined A2 CofC & GVC Drone Training Course

    This course combines the A2 CofC and GVC –making it a more cost-effective option than sitting both courses separately.

    It also provides more operational freedom, enabling operations throughout the Open and Specific Categories.

    The combined course is best suited for operators needing to utilise both categories or for pilots/organisations who want to scale their enterprise.

    Complete the learning and theory test online with heliguy™

Course Timeline

Course Registration

Drone Registration

Online Learning

Theory Test

Operations Manual Generation

Practical Flight Assessment

Operations Manual Completion

CAA Application

Operational Authorisation

A2 vs GVC breakdown table

You need A2 CofC Training You need GVC Training
Permitted Operational Categories
Open Specific
Training Requirements
Theoretical Learning
Theoretical Exam
Self-Guided Practical Flight Training
Theoretical Learning
Theoretical Exam
Operations Manual
RAE Practical Flight Assessment
CAA Fees
None Initial Application
Annual Renewal
Approx £450 / year
Permitted SUA
A1 Transitional (250g - 500g)
A2 Transitional (500g - 2kg)
C2 (up to 4kg)
0 - 25kg SUA
Example Operations
Photography
Videography
Real estate
Roof inspections
Industrial inspections
Drone mapping
Public safety
Search and rescue
Commercial Activity Permitted
Yes Yes
Qualification Validity
5 Years 5 Years
Advantage
No costs with CAA
No Operations Manual
No Flight Assessment
Reduced Separation Distances (C2)
+400ft Structure Inspection Permitted
EVLOS Fixed Wing Bolt-on Modules
Any SUA (0-25kg)
Governance & operating procedures
Multiple RP permitted
Disadvantage
Limited to aircraft
No recognised qualification
Currently no C2 aircraft
Single RP only
Longer training pathway
Comprehensive Syllabus
Longer Examination
Ongoing CAA Costs
Audit & Governance
Book Now Book Now

There are two main drone training courses in the UK: The A2 CofC (Certificate of Competency) and the GVC (General Visual Line-of-sight Certificate). Which one you choose depends on your drones and where you plan to use them. heliguy™ also runs a combined A2 CofC and GVC course.

Use the table, or visit our drone license calculator to choose which training course is right for you. Alternatively talk to our expert training team who will help you decide.

Drone Licence Calculator  Talk to the team  A2 CofC vs GVC blog post

Regulated Qualifications

Ofqual-recognised drone training qualifications for pilots and operations managers.

Ofqual Level 4 Drone Training Course

The Level 4 drone training qualification is an Ofqual-regulated version of the GVC (General Visual Line of Sight) Course.

Designed for aspiring remote pilots and those with previous experience, the course goes beyond the standard GVC syllabus, demonstrating an enhanced understanding and level of operational competence.

The Level 4 Course consists of 60 hours Total Qualification Time (TQT), equating to 6 credits.

Upon successful completion you will be awarded the Level 4 GVC, certificated by TQUK.

Ofqual Level 5 Drone Operations Manager Course

Ofqual regulated TQUK Level 5 UAS Operations Manager Qualification.

The Level 5 Operations Manager qualification is tailored to meet the needs of UAS Operations Managers who will be responsible for leading drone programmes/teams.

Designed to provide the skills to lead enterprise drone programmes, the course covers hazard and safety management, operational oversight, and an optional EVLOS module.

The Level 5 Award consists of 45 hours Total Qualification Time (TQT), equating to 5 credits. There is also an optional unit for EVLOS flights, with a credit value of 2.

Extra Skills and Additional Training

heliguy™ offer a range of added value training courses alongside CAA certifications.

Additional Training Provision

Supporting the lifecycle of a drone programme

heliguy™ provides additional training provision to help operators scale their drone programmes.

This includes an OSC (Operating Safety Case) consultancy for enhanced operational permissions, and the Drone Assistive Programme to conduct complex operations like industrial inspections.

Complex OSC Consultancy

Gain competitive edge and fly more specialist drone missions with a complex Operating Safety Case.

Our OSC consultancy service - led by Josh, a former CAA OSC expert - will help you create a compliant and bespoke document - saving money in the process.

Operations Manual Creation

GVC candidates benefit from the heliguy™ streamlined Operations Manual creation service which has been endorsed by IQ verify as meeting the highest industry standards.

This removes the complexity of building the document, shaves days off this previously time-consuming process, and helps candidates build a compliant Manual tailored to their operations.

We also run an Operations Manual renewal service, to help operators keep their document up to date.

Closed Training Courses

Dedicated training delivered to a large group or organisation in a 'closed course' format.

This approach enables standardised and highly-specific drone training.

Our closed courses have been delivered to the likes of Network Rail and Balfour Beatty, while our ES-DOT course caters for the UK emergency services.

Click to view the interactive training career pathway

Drone Training Career Pathway

A2 CofC

Designed for Open Category operations, this is an ideal entry level drone training course.

Can be used for commercial or recreational flights with drones such as the Mavic 2 Series.

GVC

Drone training course for Specific Category operations, suited to enterprise drone operations with aircraft such as the M300 RTK and Inspire 2.

Can be taken as a stand-alone entry point course or following the A2 CofC as a business/individual scales. Or sit both together with the combined course.

Drone Assistive Programme

Onsite industry-specific training beyond the GVC to help in-house drone programmes develop capability to conduct critical asset inspections or emergency services operations, safely and competently.

Also features training such as mapping/surveying principles, data capture/analysis, and emergency services/crisis management.

OSC

The heliguy™ in-house OSC consultancy helps UAS operators secure special permissions to operate outside standard permissions for niche jobs: Perfect for growing the capability of a drone programme and gaining competitive edge.

Operations Manual Renewal

The Operations Manual is an important document and needs to be updated to reflect legislation or operational changes. heliguy™ provides a renewal service to keep your manual compliant and enhance operational capability, where possible.

CPD

The heliguy™ Continuing Professional Development programme, for enterprise organisations and the emergency services, helps experienced pilots maintain and enhance operational standards and compliance.

TQUK

Regulated Qualification Programme, including Level 5 certificate for Commercial Drone Chief Pilots. Ideal for those who wish to forge a lengthy and progessive career in the UAS industry.

Night Permissions
Lifetime Support
Free Resits
Facebook Group
Operations Manual Creation
Online Training

Meet the Drone Training Team

Meet the expert heliguy™ drone training team who will guide you through your certification.

Mark Blaney

Head of Training, Training Instructor
  • Worked with drones since 2008, including roles as a military UAV Operator and international operations of the Hermes 450 Tactical UAV.
  • Logged 1500+ flying hours with fixed-wing and multi-rotor drones.
  • 7 years' experience as RPAS instructor; conducting flight assessments, instructing courses, and deploying internationally.
  • Former chief Remote Pilot for UK-based fixed-wing drone manufacturer.

Tom Anderson

Head of Safety, Training Instructor
  • A commercial drone remote pilot, working as a full-time heliguy™ training instructor since 2016.
  • Vast experience of working as an instructor: DSA Approved Driving Instructor, PADI Master Scuba Diver Trainer.
  • One of the UK's first to attain Mountain Training Association Development Coach Award.
  • Tom is not only a remote pilot but also designs and builds both fixed and rotary-wing aircraft.

Ben Shirley

Head of Training Development
  • Former commercial drone operator, with a passion for aerial photography / videography.
  • Key member of heliguy™ training team since 2017.
  • 13 years in the British Armed Forces, attaining rank of Staff Sergeant and conducting international tours.
  • Former Royal Military Police, bringing his knowledge of policing to the emergency service application of UAS.
  • Experience of working in the TV, film and gaming industry.

Jack Sharp

Training Instructor
  • Qualified drone training pilot, with GVC, A2 CofC and a PfCO.
  • Recreational drone pilot since 2017, specialising in aerial photography.
  • Photography work featured by the BBC, Forestry England and Mountain Warehouse.
  • Vast training background, developing experience in NHS forensic section and at HM Prison Service.

Martin Young

Training Instructor
  • 9½ years as a helicopter pilot for the Royal Navy, flying the Merlin Mk3 and serving in Europe and the Far East.
  • Holder of an ATPL Commercial Pilot Licence.
  • Qualified drone pilot: GVC and former PfCO holder.
  • Operates a drone services company, utilising DJI aircraft for a range of jobs, from inspection to wedding photography.
  • Logged 500+ flying hours with rotary and fixed-wing aircraft.

Josh

OSC Specialist
  • Former UAS Technical Surveyor at the CAA, responsible for the evaluation, development and approval of OSC applications.
  • Well versed in the process, requirements, and best practises of building an OSC document.
  • His experience will save applicants' 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.

Ben Sangster

In-house GIS specialist
  • Working within the sales, training and technical departments of heliguy™ in order to provide consultancy and develop educational material for our customers.
  • Account manager for AEC clients such as Laing O'Rourke, Boskalis, Balfour Beatty and Komatsu, providing aerial surveying consultancy, hardware supply, and workflow support.
  • Experienced with ESRI’s AcGIS & SiteScan, Pix4D, DJI Terra, Terra Solid and CAD.
  • Guest speaker at 2021 Digital Construction Week in London, representing heliguy™ and Esri UK.
  • Technical lead on aerial surveying, ESRI Site Scan and Zenmuse L1 training courses.

Faye Ashton

Training Administrator
  • More than 10 years of experience in logistics, including former heliguy™ warehouse manager.
  • Spent 7 years as an online technical advisor for HMRC.
  • Served in the Royal Navy for 7 and a half years, employed in the warfare branch communications sector and reached the rank of Leading Hand.
  • Served onboard HMS Cumberland, HMS Illustrious and HMS Invincible, with active service around the world, in locations such as the Gulf and Sierra Leone.
  • Faye's career has helped her develop public interaction skills, understand the value of teamwork and experience different cultures.

Danny Burt

Training Instructor
  • Joined the British Army in 1998, initially serving with the Royal Artillery and serving in Kosovo, Bosnia and Iraq on peacekeeping operations.
  • Multiple tours of Afghanistan, with roles including the coordination of tactical airspace in Helmand Province.
  • Awarded the British Army's General Officers Commanding Commendation for forming 4/73 ‘Sphinx’ Special Observation Battery Air Cell - which became one of the Army's premier air units.
  • Only Army personnel to have conducted the intense 8 1⁄2 month RAF Typhoon Weapons Instructors course. Danny has also served with Typhoon Force, conducting Close Air Support procedures.
  • Published books on military history and received MSc in Typhoon capability.

Accreditations & Awards

"The Heliguy-delivered training was fantastic. I can't recommend them enough.

Two of our officers were deployed with the drone less than 48 hours after training, filling a gap in operational capability in the process. That they had the confidence and ability to deploy so quickly after passing was due to Heliguy. If our officers had not done the course, there would not have been drone cover over that period. Having a greater number of officers trained around the Force gives us 24/7 drone capability."

PC Tom Gee

Derbyshire Constabulary

heliguy™ End to End Support

Drone training is just one part of a drone programme.

heliguy™ provides end-to-end support encompassing all aspects of a drone programme, from dynamic supply to in-house repairs & drone maintenance. This provides continuity from your drone training experience.

Free Consultancy

This comes as standard. Benefit from our vast knowledge pool, industry case studies and network of worldwide suppliers to build a tailored and appropriate solution for you.

Large Supply, Including Rental

Access our vast stock inventory, specialising in, but not confined to, DJI hardware. We also offer drone rental for dynamic scaling, one-off jobs, and proof of concept.

Logistics Network

Next-day delivery and IATA Certification to ship high-power batteries overseas; especially useful for international drone programmes. We've shipped to the U.S, Africa and the Middle East.

In-house Repairs

Utilise our in-house team of DJI-approved technicians to minimise your downtime. This includes fast-track repairs, swap-outs, fault diagnosis, and one-to-one support.

R&D Lab

heliguy™ Lab drives drone industry innovation. In-house 3D printing machines for R&D, product development/design, and rapid prototyping.

Drone Defence

Need to protect your airspace? heliguy™ Detect can help with a range of industry-leading solutions. Our drone defence clients include Gatwick Airport, the MET Police and MOD.

Drone Regulations & Registration

Supporting the lifecycle of a drone programme

When do I not need Drone Training?

You do not need drone training if you are flying drones under 250g, such as the DJI Mini range.

Drone training is also not required if you are flying in the Open Category's A3 subcategory, stipulating that there must not be any uninvolved people present within the area of flight and you must not fly 150m horizontally of residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas.

UK Drone Registration

You must register before flying most drones or model aircraft outdoors in the UK. This is done through the UK Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service (DMARES).

There are two elements and you may need to meet both.

  • If you’ll fly, you must pass a free theory test to get a flyer ID.
  • If you’re responsible for a drone or model aircraft, you must register for an operator ID.

It is against the law to fly a drone or model aircraft without having the required IDs.

However, you do not need to register if you will only fly or use the following types of drone or model aircraft:

  • Toys below 250g or in C0 class;
  • Those in C0 class with no camera, whether they are a toy or not;
  • Those below 250g with no camera and no class mark, whether they’re a toy or not.

A Guide To The UK Drone Registration Service

Read the UK Drone Laws blog

UK Drone Laws

The new regulations started in the UK and throughout Europe on December 31, 2020.

The regulations intend to do away with the limitations and ambiguity around commercial and non-commercial drone operations, and instead follow three basic concepts, based around:

  • the type of operation being conducted;
  • the level of risk;
  • the level of performance;

In the long run, the new regulations will open up new possibilities for operating a drone, including letting you fly closer to people than you have been able to previously, and letting you sell your stunning drone images without needing to complete a drone training course.

Read our in-depth guide to UK drone laws, including where you can fly, a guide to the Open and Specific drone categories, what training is best for you, and specific laws on FPV flights.


Read the UK Drone Laws blog

Certified Category
  • Very complex operations
  • Present equivalent risk of to that of manned aviation
Specific Category
  • Mass / Height: No limits, subject to approval
  • Flight Type BVLOS, EVLOS, subject to approval

Requirements

Operational Authorisation, Risk Assessment

Open Category
  • Mass: < 25kg
  • Max Height: 120m
  • Flight Type: VLOS

Permissions

  • A1: Fly over people
  • A2: Fly near people
  • A3: Fly far from people
Drone Training Videos

We've created some video guidance around drone training requirements in the Open and Specific category.

Simply click the videos below to watch.


UK Drone Regulations - The Open Category


UK Drone Regulations - The Specific Category

"Flexible and on-demand online training is available anytime, anywhere to anyone who wants it. This means that you can learn at your own pace...

heliguy™ drone training courses cover the theoretical basis required to become a specialist in aerial operations."

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Drone Training FAQs

Answers to your most frequently asked questions.

FAQs

What training do I need to fly a drone?

There are two main drone training courses in the UK: The A2 CofC, for flights in the Open Category; and the GVC, for operations in the Specific Category. The GVC allows you to apply for an Operational Authorisation, similar in scope to the former PfCO.

heliguy™ gives you the option to sit these courses individually, or you can take the A2 CofC and GVC Combined Course. The combined course is a more cost-effective option and gives you flexibility to operate across both the Open and Specific category.

FAQs

How much does drone training cost?

The cost of drone training depends on the course you take. Currently, the A2 CofC training course is priced £149.50, while the GVC drone training course is priced £699.50.

Are we the cheapest drone training provider? No. But, by training with us, you are buying into the comprehensive and integrated heliguy™ ecosystem, which includes additional training opportunities and lifetime support, as well as access to a vast stock inventory for dynamic drone supply, in-house repairs, and free consultancy.

FAQs

Do I need any kind of insurance before I start a drone training course?

No - heliguy™ offer free insurance for your practical flight assessment (for the GVC course) through their partners at Coverdrone and the A2 CofC does not require a practical flight assessment.

However, candidates must have EC785/2004 compliant insurance to operate in a commercial capacity once training is complete.

FAQs

What do I do if I fail a drone training course?

The first thing is not to panic - there's a lot of information to take in and you might slip up on a difficult question or a complex flight task.

Either way - heliguy™ never charge you to resit these tests - unlike some of our competitors!

You'll have a chance to go away and brush up on your skills before re-taking the test at a time that's right for you.

FAQs

Do I need any experience with drones before attending the courses?

No. Whether you have experience or not - our drone training school helps take you from novice to commercial pilot, regardless of any existing drone experience.

Our curriculum is well-paced to ensure that those more recently entering the industry can get up to speed, while experienced pilots will still be getting value at every stage.

FAQs

What Are The New Drone Classes?

As part of the new regulations, a new class system for drones has been introduced. Each make of drone will have its own class rating – from C0 to C4 – which will be based on certain criteria, such as weight, maximum speed and other features based around safety and geo-awareness.

Specific classes of drone can be flown in specific subcategories of the Open Category.

Non-class-marked drones can be flown based on Transitional provisions, which have been extended to January 1, 2026.

In November 2022, the CAA said that the DfT will be changing UK regulations so that European Union (EU) class marks on drones will not be recognised in the UK after 1 January 2023. Drones with EU class marks will still be able to be flown in the UK after that date in the Open and Specific categories but may not make use of the class mark provisions in the A1, A2 and A3 subcategory.

Read more about the drone class system and UK drone laws.

FAQs

Do I need training to fly commercially?

No, not necessarily.

Under the new drone rules, training depends on the type of drone you have and where you plan to use it; it is not dependent on whether or not the operation is commercial.

For example, you can fly a sub 250g drone, like the DJI Mini 3 Pro, in the A1 Subcategory (flights over people) of the Open Category, without needing to conduct drone training - regardless of whether it is a commercial or recreational flight.

If, however, a pilot wants to fly by the rules of the A2 Subcategory (flights close to people), they will need an A2 CofC - no matter if the flight is commercial or recreational.

Likewise, a flight in the A3 subcategory (flights far from people), does not require the operator to have completed drone training.

But for operators wanting to fly in the Specific Category - aimed at enterprise drone missions - then GVC drone training is required, which allows pilots to apply for an Operational Authorisation (similar in scope to the old PfCO).

For more details, read our Guide To UK Drone Laws.

FAQs

I am a former PfCO holder. Do I need to do drone training?

Yes, you do. If your PfCO lapsed before the start of the new drone regulations on December 21, 2020, you will need to conduct the PfCO to GVC Conversion Course.

If your PfCO was still valid at the start of the new drone regulations, you can renew your permissions before they lapse with our PfCO (Operational Authorisation) Renewal Service.

FAQs

What are the Open, Specific and Certified drone categories?

Under the new uk drone laws three categories define where drones can be flown.

These categories are:

  • Open: Operations that present a low (or no) risk to third parties.
  • Specific: Operations that present a greater risk than that of the Open category, or where one or more elements of the operation fall outside the boundaries of the Open Category. Holding an Operational Authorisation - similar to the former PfCO - allows you to fly in this category.
  • Certified: Operations that present an equivalent risk to that of manned aviation. This category is for high-complexity missions.

The Open Category is broken down into three subcategories:

  • A1: Fly over people.
  • A2: Fly close to people.
  • A3: Fly far from people.

Each of these subcategories has more specified criteria of where/how your drone can be operated.

FAQs

Is it hard to learn to fly a drone?

These days, drones are so sophisticated and safe, that flying one isn't necessarily difficult.

That said, one person's easy, is another person's difficult. It also depends how you plan to use the drone: The basic controls can be mastered relatively quickly, but learning how to operate around complex infrastructure - for instance - takes a lot more practice.

With this in mind, our instructors are here to guide you through the process and make you a safe, confident and legal drone pilot. We've got plenty of experience of turning novice pilots into fully-fledged commercial operators.

FAQs

What are the benefits of conducting online drone training?

Completing your drone training online through the heliguy™ Learning Management System has numerous benefits. These include:

  • Accessible, on-demand content.
  • Blended learning solutions, making your training a fun and engaging experience. 
  • Learn at your own pace and re-watch content to reinforce learning.
  • Live interactive chat with heliguy™ instructors.
  • Training Hub for A2 CofC, GVC, and other courses.
  • Sit your theory test online - offering a more relaxed environment.
  • Wide scope to book your theory test.
  • Bonus material, industry updates and product discounts.
  • Access interactive Drone Safety Map, powered by Altitude Angel's GuardianUTM, for advanced flight planning and safety.
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