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A2 CofC Training Course with heliguy™
A2 CofC Drone Training Course
A2 CofC Drone Training Course
A2 CofC Drone Training Course

A2 CofC Drone Training Course

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A2 CofC Drone Training Course

CAA permissions to fly small drones in the A2 subcategory.

The A2 CofC (certificate of competency) is a drone training course to fly small drones 'close to people' in the Open Category.

The A2 Certificate of Competency is valid for 5 years and can be used by drone pilots who are flying commercially or recreationally.

Prepare for the A2 CofC course remotely using online, on-demand training modules, delivered by the heliguy™ in-house instructors.

Take advantage of flexible booking slots and sit the A2 CofC 30-question multiple choice theory exam via webcam. Pilots also need to complete a period of self-guided flight training.

heliguy™ is a CAA-approved RAE and our instructors have trained more than 3,500 people and delivered courses to the likes of Network Rail, National Grid and the UK Emergency Services.

Our instructors will offer you lifetime support, during your learning and after you've passed the A2 CofC.

A2 CofC Drone Training

CAA permissions to fly in the open category.

A2 Subcategory

Fly small drones "Close to People"

The A2 CofC enables pilots of small drones to fly close to people in the A2 subcategory of the Open category.

It permits the following:

C2 Rated Aircraft

Under the new drone laws, a class system has been introduced. Drones will be given a class mark (C0-C4) based on certain criteria, such as weight, speed, and safety features.

An A2 CofC will allow operators of a C2-rated aircraft (up to 4kg in weight) to operate in the A2 subcategory, meaning they can fly up to 30m horizontally from uninvolved people, or up to 5 metres in low-speed mode.

No class-marked drones currently exist.

A2 Transitional Aircraft

During the Transitional Period, an A2 CofC enables operators of drones without a class mark and weighing up to 2kg to fly in the A2 subcategory under Transitional provisions - which stipulates no flights closer than 50m horizontally from uninvolved people.

This applies to the following DJI aircraft: Mavic 3, Mavic 2 Series, Phantom 4 Series, Mavic Air 2 and the Air 2S.

A1 Transitional Aircraft

Holders of an A2 CofC can operate non-class-marked drones, with a take-off weight of between 250g and 500g, in the A1 subcategory, under A1 Transitional provisions, during the Transitional Period (until December 31, 2022). This stipulates that there must not be any intentional flight over uninvolved persons.

This applies to the following DJI aircraft: Mavic Air, Spark, and the Mini 2 and Mavic Mini if their take-off weight exceeds 250g.

Transitional Period after December 2022

Based on a CAA recommendations, the transitional period could be extended beyond 2022, based on a CAA recommendation. 

If approved by the Department for Transport, pilots flying non-class-marked drones would be able to continue to enjoy the benefits of the current UK drone rules for longer - beyond December 31, 2022.

Compatible aircraft

The A2 CofC can be used with the following DJI drones:

  • DJI Mini 3 Pro (if over 250g or for additional permissions)
  • DJI Mini 2 (if over 250g or for additional permissions)
  • DJI Mavic Mini (if over 250g or for additional permissions)
  • DJI Mavic 3
  • DJI Air 2S
  • DJI Mavic Air 2
  • DJI Mavic Air
  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro
  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
  • DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Series
  • DJI Phantom 4 Series
  • DJI Phantom 3 Series

A3 subcategory

"Far From People"

If you don't have an A2 CofC, you could find yourself limited in terms of where you can fly your drone.

Up until the end of December 31, 2022, if you have a ‘legacy’ drone weighing between 500g and 2kg (such as Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom, Phantom Series) and you don’t have an A2 CofC, you will have to operate in the A3 subcategory (far from people), which stipulates that there can be no uninvolved people present within the area of flight, and no flight within 150m horizontally of residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas.

Likewise, if you have a ‘legacy’ aircraft which has a take-off weight of between 250g and 500g – such as the DJI Spark and Mavic Air – and you don’t have an A2 CofC, you will be restricted to flying in the A3 subcategory.

A2 CofC Drone Training Process

Passing your A2 CofC with heliguy™

Flexible on-demand learning through our online, interactive Learning Management System.

Multiple choice theory exam - taken remotely under exam conditions via webcam link - to confirm understanding.

Period of self-guided practical flight training (min 8 hours).

Learning Management System

The online, interactive drone training portal from heliguy™

  • Complete the syllabus on-demand - any time, any place.
  • Learn at your own pace and convenience and re-watch content to reinforce learning.
  • Need help or advice? Contact our expert instructors via the live messenger.
  • Fun and engaging learning, covering the syllabus through videos, quizzes, and task sheets. An example is presented in this video.
  • Sit your exam remotely using a webcam. Flexible exam slots to book a time that suits you.
  • The LMS is an industry hub: Regulation and policy updates, advanced learning modules, and discounts.

A FREE New Pilot Course is available on the Learning Management System providing an overview of UK drone regulations and a sample of our online tuition.

Self-guided Flight Training

The A2 CofC requires pilots to undertake a period of self-guided practical flight training.

This should be a minimum of 8 hours and flight logs should be provided to heliguy™ demonstrate this.

Your self-guided practical flight training should abide by any rules and regulation you have learned around the A2 subcategory, and ideally would be conducted 'far from people'.

Exam Details

The A2 CofC examination comprises a minimum of 30 multiple-choice questions. These questions cover meteorology; UAS flight performance; and technical and operational mitigations for ground risk. These subjects will be covered in your online learning material.

Sit your exam remotely using a webcam. Flexible exam slots are available to book a time that suits you. For your exam, you will require:

  • A quiet, private space
  • Desktop or laptop
  • Webcam
  • Microphone
  • A reliable internet connection
  • Photographic ID (if you don't have photo ID, you will need to complete the exam at heliguy™ HQ during office hours)

The exam, sat in formal conditions, is a closed-book format (except when questions require reference to charts, or other sources of specific aeronautical information). The minimum pass mark is 75%.

The exam duration is 75 minutes, but candidates tend to complete the exam much quicker than this timeframe. Any candidate with a recognised disability or additional needs (e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia) will be given an additional 15 minutes.

Practise tests and mock exams are available on heliguy™ LMS, you can resit these as many times as you like until you are confident in your ability to pass.

Course Timeline

Course Registration

Drone Registration

Online Learning

Self-guided Flight Training

Theory Test Via Webcam

Achieve A2 CofC

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

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

heliguy Training Ecosystem

Learn why our training is the best rated in the industry.

  • Flexible and on-demand online learning through the heliguy™ Learning Management System.
  • Engaging course content and interactive support from our training team.
  • Experienced instructors who have trained drone-pilot teams from the likes of Balfour Beatty, Sellafield Sites, Manchester City FC, and BBC Natural History Unit.
  • Sit your theory test remotely, at a time that suits you, with unlimited free resits and dedicated support both before and after your exam.
  • Partner discounts, bonus material, regulation updates, and additional industry courses through heliguy™ Learning Management System.
  • Scale your drone programme through industry tailored closed courses, OSC consultancy and streamlined Operations Manual creation.

Closed Courses

Industry-specific closed courses are a major part of the heliguy™ training ecosystem. 

We have delivered tailored training to the likes of Network Rail, Phillips 66, and many of the UK's emergency services.

  • Private drone training courses
  • Multiple candidates at once
  • A tailored yet standardised approach
  • CPD courses and application-specific training, such as surveying and inspection

heliguy™ Ecosystem

heliguy™ offers an integrated end-to-end solution of services, including:

  • Consultancy
  • Hardware support
  • Supply from a vast stock inventory
  • Drone-defence solutions
  • In-house repairs and crash support from DJI-trained technicians
  • Rental equipment and service level agreements
  • Large logistics network for rapid supply

Extended Permissions

heliguy™ provides a foundation for you to grow your drone operations.

Expand your enterprise with an Operational Authorisation through the GVC Course.

Further extend your permissions with an Operating Safety Case (OSC) to enable more bespoke missions.

A2 CofC Drone Training Course FAQs

Answers to your most frequently asked questions.
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 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
What is the A2 CofC?

The A2 CofC (Certificate of Competency) is a remote pilot competency certificate primarily intended to assure safe operations of drones close to uninvolved persons.

The A2 CofC allows pilots to fly small drones up to 2kg "close to people" - maintaining 50m horizontal separation distance from uninvolved people.

It was introduced as part of the new drone regulations, which started in the UK and throughout Europe in December 2020. The A2 CofC is specifically for the Open Category.

FAQs
Why do I need an A2 CofC?

The A2 CofC enables operators of small drones to fly close to people. It permits the following:

  • C2 Rated Aircraft: Under the new drone laws, a class system has been introduced. Drones will be given a class mark (C0-C4) based on certain criteria, such as weight, speed, and safety features. An A2 CofC will allow operators of a C2-rated aircraft (up to 4kg in weight) to operate in the A2 subcategory, meaning they can fly up to 30m horizontally from uninvolved people, or up to 5 metres in low-speed mode. However, no class-marked drones currently exist.

  • A2 Transitional Aircraft: Because no drones are class-marked, a Transitional Period has been introduced, running from now until December 31, 2022. During this time, an A2 CofC enables operators of drones without a class mark and weighing up to 2kg to fly in the A2 subcategory under Transitional provisions - which stipulates no flights closer than 50m horizontally from uninvolved people.

    This applies to the following DJI aircraft: Mavic 3, Mavic 2 Series, Phantom 4 Series, and the Mavic Air 2.

  • A1 Transitional Aircraft: Holders of an A2 CofC can operate non-class-marked drones, with a take-off weight of between 250g and 500g, in the A1 subcategory, under A1 Transitional provisions, during the Transitional Period (until December 31, 2022). This stipulates that there must not be any intentional flight over uninvolved persons.

    This applies to the following DJI aircraft: Mavic Air, Spark, and the Mini 2 and Mavic Mini if their take-off weight exceeds 250g.
FAQs
What Happens If I Don't Have an A2 CofC?

If you haven’t got an A2 CofC, you could find yourself limited in terms of where you can fly your drone.

Up until the end of December 31, 2022, if you have a ‘legacy’ drone weighing between 500g and 2kg (such as Mavic 2 Pro/Zoom, Phantom Series) and you don’t have an A2 CofC, you will have to operate in the A3 subcategory (far from people), which stipulates that there can be no uninvolved people present within the area of flight, and no flight within 150m horizontally of residential, commercial, industrial or recreational areas.

Likewise, if you have a ‘legacy’ aircraft which has a take-off weight of between 250g and 500g – such as the DJI Spark and Mavic Air – and you don’t have an A2 CofC, you will be restricted to flying in the A3 subcategory.

FAQs
How Do I Obtain an A2 CofC?

You can obtain an A2 CofC by completing a one-day Ground School course with heliguy™, via our Learning Management System. This enables you to complete the modules remotely in your own time and at your own convenience. heliguy™ instructors will be available though to assist if you need help or advice along the way, via our live messenger feed.

Once you have covered the syllabus, you can sit your exam remotely.
Unlike the GVC, there are no requirements to undergo a Practical Flight Test or complete an Operations Manual for the A2 CofC.
However, there is a requirement to complete self-guided practical flight training.

The self-practical flight training must be completed before the ground school course, and it is important that you have registered with the CAA and obtained a Flyer ID before conducting the practical flight training.

Before conducting the self-practical flight training, you must successfully complete the CAA’s Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service free online competency test, and be in possession of the Flyer ID number associated with that test.

FAQs
What Do I Have To Do In The A2 CofC Theory Examination?

The A2 CofC exam – sat in formal conditions – comprises a minimum of 30 multiple-choice questions, specifically covering meteorology; UAS flight performance; and technical and operational mitigations for ground risk.

The exam is a closed-book format (except when questions require reference to charts, or other sources of specific aeronautical information) and the minimum pass mark is 75%.

The examination will last for 75 minutes. Any candidate with a recognised disability or additional needs (e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia) will be given an additional 15 minutes.

The exam is sat remotely and there is a wide scope to book your slot.

FAQs
How Long Does An A2 CofC Last For?

The A2 CofC qualification lasts for five years, after which you’ll have to renew it.

FAQs
Does the A2 CofC allow me to operate commercially?

Yes. You can use an A2 CofC to fly commercially or recreationally, so long as the flight is conducted within the boundaries of the subcategory you are flying in.

If your planned mission or missions exceed the limits of the Open Category, then you should take a GVC course to enable you to apply for an Operational Authorisation (similar to the old PfCO) to fly in the Specific Category.

In some cases, you might have a drone which can be flown in the A2 Subcategory - such as a Mavic 2 Enterprise Advanced or Phantom 4 RTK, as they are under 2kg - but you require greater flexibility for your missions, so the GVC is the more prudent route.

heliguy™ advises that if you are investing in enterprise platforms, or have aspirations of scaling your operations within the enterprise sector, then obtaining a GVC will provide greater scope.

FAQs
What Happens If I Fail The A2 CofC Exam?

heliguy™ offers free resits if you fail your A2 CofC exam. If you have not completed your practical flight training within a year of passing your exam, you will be required to re-sit the exam.

FAQs
Do I need any experience with drones before attending the A2 CofC Course?

No. Whether you have experience or not - our drone training school helps take you from novice to an A2 CofC-qualified drone 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
Do I need any kind of insurance before I take the course?

No, because the A2 CofC does not require a practical flight assessment.

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

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.

Currently, no drones meet the current class requirements, so no C0-C4 aircraft exists.

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

FAQs
What Is The Transitional Period?

Because no drones currently meet the class requirements, a Transitional Period is currently running, up until the end of December 2022, to give manufacturers the chance to bring out C0-C4 drones.

This means that you can continue to fly your current DJI drones - to become known as legacy aircraft - in accordance with the new rules.

Read the A2 CofC VS GVC blog post.

FAQs
I have a Ground School Certificate, Flight Assessment or Operations Manual. Can I finish my training with heliguy™?

In the past - heliguy™ was happy to assist candidates who had started their training elsewhere.

However, due to the improvement in the structure of the A2 CofC and GVC courses when compared to the PfCO, there is no longer the chance to switch midway through your training.

If you're in the position where you have completed some part of your training, please give the training team a call on 0191 296 1024 to discuss what options you may have.

FAQs
Do I need a Commercial Drone Licence or a Hobbyist Licence?

As of the time of writing, there is no hobbyist drone licence in the UK.

Whether or not you'll need some form of qualification depends on the circumstances of your flight - how far you are from uninvolved people and built up areas - and the weight of your drone.

Click here to learn more about the drone flight categories.

 

Customer Reviews

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Compatible Aircraft

An A2 CofC can be used with the following DJI drones:

  • DJI Mini 3 Pro (if over 250g or for additional permissions)
  • DJI Mini 2 (if over 250g or for additional permissions)
  • DJI Mavic Mini (if over 250g or for additional permissions)
  • DJI Mavic 3
  • DJI Air 2S
  • DJI Mavic Air 2
  • DJI Mavic Air
  • DJI Mavic 2 Pro
  • DJI Mavic 2 Zoom
  • DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Series
  • DJI Phantom 4 Series
  • DJI Phantom 3 Series

Certification Details

  • Valid for 5 years
  • Valid for both commercial and hobbyist pilots
  • Allows for operations in the A2 subcategory (flying close to people) and A1 Transitional aircraft (no intentional flight over uninvolved people)

Course Details

  • Remote learning through online platform (closed courses available)
  • Live support from tutors via online messenger or telephone
  • Online theory test, via webcam
  • Complete 8 hours of self-guided practical flight training

Training by Drone
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