GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) Training Course

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GVC Drone Training Course

The General Visual Line of Sight Certificate, required for a commercial Operational Authorisation

GVC Drone Training Course Benefits

  • CAA approved course.
  • Flexible and on-demand online learning through Heliguy Blackbox. Convenient and no need to travel to prepare for your theory exam.
  • Engaging content covering the GVC syllabus with videos, quizzes, webinars, and task sheets.
  • Live Q&A sessions to access interactive training support.
  • Streamlined Operations Manual creation process through Blackbox.
  • Sit your theory test remotely for a more relaxed examination environment.
  • Flexible invigilation - wide scope to book a time that suits you.
  • Conduct your flight assessment at any of our UK venues; the only time you'll need to travel during your GVC learning.
  • Bespoke flight assessment, tailored to suit the needs of your commercial operation.
  • Unlimited free resits for both the theory exam and the flight assessment.
  • Operations Manual renewal advice and guidance.
  • Learn from our experienced team, which has trained more than 2,000 candidates and held dedicated courses for the police and large businesses.
  • Dedicated aftercare support. Whether it's by phone, email, or through Blackbox, our team is there to offer advice and support after you've passed your exam.
  • Go beyond the syllabus - join Heliguy Blackbox for partner discounts, bonus material, and additional industry courses for value-added learning.
  • GVC valid for five years.
"No better way to obtain the GVC Certificate. Fantastic, friendly and informative crew. Ultra patient in my never-ending questions and displayed a deep knowledge and interest in all the topics to do with SUA operations. They have my genuine appreciation."

Marcus Lawrence

What Is The GVC?

The GVC is a remote pilot competency certificate which provides a single qualification that is suitable for VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) operations within the Specific Category.

The Specific Category hinges on an Operational Authorisation being held by the drone operator, which has been issued by the CAA, before the operation can be commenced.

The Operational Authorisation – to replace the term PfCO – will be based upon a risk assessment that is completed by the UAS operator, or through a series of Pre-Defined Risk Assessments (PDRA) and/or Standard Scenarios (STS). PDRAs are under development and will be published soon.

The GVC, along with any additional modules that are attached to it, is valid for a period of five years.

Until 31 December 2020 - when the new UK drone rules begin - candidates will be taught a hybrid syllabus, comprising the current and future drone regulations for the UK.

Upon successful completion of the GVC course, candidates can apply to the CAA for Standard Permissions to operate commercially.

From 31 December 2020, holders can continue to operate under the terms of their current permissions, but on renewal, these will convert to an Operational Authorisation.

How Do I Sit The GVC Course?

Candidates can complete the GVC course via Heliguy Blackbox, our online drone training platform. The GVC is typically a two-day Ground School course, culminating in a theory examination, however, the advantage of utilising Heliguy Blackbox is that candidates can complete the syllabus at their own pace whilst still retaining access to our training team throughout the process.

The GVC course syllabus will cover topics such as airlaw/responsibilities, UAS airspace operating principles, airmanship/aviation safety, meteorology, and navigation/charts, among other things. The GVC course will culminate in a theory test. Candidates training online can sit the exam remotely, using a webcam to maintain virtual exam conditions.

Candidates will also be required to complete a practical flight test, which will be taken on a separate date following successful completion of the theory course, as well as complete an Operations Manual.

As well as completing the GVC, you will also need to register your drone and complete the mandatory Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service training and examination.

Once you have passed your GVC you can apply to the CAA to operate under Standard Permissions (to become known as an Operational Authorisation). Please note that separate application and renewal fees to the CAA apply.

Go Further With Bolt-on Modules

Bolt-on modules are set to be announced for the GVC to allow you to complete more complex missions with your drone, similar to what is now granted through an OSC (Operating Safety Case).

This additional modules will include Extended Visual Line of Sight and Beyond Visual Line of Sight flights.

Heliguy will be releasing more information on these bolt-on modules in due course.

What Happens If I Have A PfCO?

Holders of a PfCO valid beyond the start of the new UK drone regulations can operate under the terms of the current permission, until the renewal date.

However, your existing PfCO qualifications will remain valid only for a finite amount of time and will in the future need to be revalidated by an RAE, such as Heliguy, at which point you will achieve the General Visual Line of Sight (GVC) qualification.

When you renew after the new legislation begins, the PfCO will become known as an Operational Authorisation, but you will be granted the same Standard Permissions as before and these will be converted into a PDRA (pre-defined risk assessments).

The change in regulation must, however, be reflected within the Operations Manual accordingly.

However, if you have never had a PfCO but want to operate under similar permissions, or if your PfCO has expired before the new regulations start and you don't renew it, you will need to complete the GVC training.

GVC Drone Training FAQs

Answers to your most frequently asked questions about the GVC drone training course.

What Is The GVC?

The GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) is a remote pilot competency certificate - being introduced as part of the new EASA drone regulations, starting in the UK on November 2020 - which provides a single qualification that is suitable for VLOS (Visual Line of Sight) operations within the Specific Category. 

The Specific Category hinges on an Operational Authorisation being held by the drone operator, which has been issued by the CAA, before the operation can be commenced.

The GVC is acceptable for all VLOS operations conducted under a published STS (Standard Scenario) or PDRA (Pre-Defined Risk Assessment) and, in most circumstances, it will be considered an acceptable level of remote pilot competency within an operational risk assessment for any other VLOS operation.

What Is An Operational Authorisation?

The Operational Authorisation – to replace the term PfCO – will be based upon a risk assessment that is completed by the UAS operator, or through a series of Pre-Defined Risk Assessments (PDRA) and/or Standard Scenarios (STS).

This means that individuals or organizations that wish to operate a drone within the Specific Category must either provide a risk assessment to the CAA (by following the OSC – Operating Safety Case – process), or adhere to the requirements of the PDRA and/ or STS.

PDRAs are still currently under development. Current holders of a PfCO will be pleased to hear that the current provisions of a Standard Permission will be converted into a PDRA.

How Do I Obtain a GVC?

You can obtain a GVC by sitting a two-day Ground School course with Heliguy. You can sit your A2 CofC at one of three Heliguy training venues (The Elvetham; Shrigley Hall; and The Village Hotel). Alternatively, sit the course online via Heliguy Blackbox and complete the modules remotely in your own time and at your own convenience.

The GVC course syllabus will cover topics such as airlaw/responsibilities, UAS airspace operating principles, airmanship/aviation safety, meteorology, and navigation/charts, among other things. The GVC course will culminate in a theory test. As a Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE), we now have dispensation from the CAA to allow us to invigilate the GVC theory examination remotely using your webcam to maintain virtual exam conditions within Blackbox - if you choose to sit our online drone training.

All candidates will also be required to complete a practical flight test, which will be taken on a separate date following successful completion of the Ground School course. 

What Do I Have To Do In The GVC Exam?

The GVC examination – sat in formal conditions – will comprise a minimum of 40 questions. 

There will be a minimum of five questions in each of the following subject areas:

  • Air law/responsibilities;
  • UAS airspace operating principles;
  • Airmanship and aviation safety.


The exam questions may be in the following formats:

  • Multiple-choice questions – a choice of no less than 4 answers;
  • Long answer questions;
  • A mixture of both multiple-choice and long answer questions.


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

The duration of the examination can be determined by the RAE and is subject to acceptance by the CAA. Any candidate with a recognised disability or additional needs (e.g. dyslexia or dyspraxia) should be granted an extra 10% of the allocated assessment time to complete the examination.

What Do I Have To Do In The GVC Practical Flight Test?

The GVC practical flight test is designed to provide assurance that the remote pilot being examined can safely undertake a wide range of VLOS operations within the Specific Category, including those conducted under a published STS or PDRA, whilst adhering to a set of procedures contained within an operations manual.

The test will be conducted outdoors and candidates must sufficiently show competence in a range of pre-and-post-flight actions, and in-flight procedures.

All candidates must complete the practical flight test.

What Happens If I Fail The GVC Exam/Flight Assessment?

Heliguy will offer free resits for a period of 12 months after you have failed your first exam. Any candidates who need to resit the test/flight assessment a year after failing the first will have to pay a nominal fee and re-do the GVC course, as well as sit the exam/flight assessment.

Do I Need To Do Anything Other Than My GVC?

Yes. You must successfully complete the CAA’s Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service online training course for basic remote pilot competency and the associated competency test, and be in possession of the Flyer ID number associated with that test.

Are There Bolt-on Modules For The GVC?

Yes, there are. The GVC can be augmented by a number of additional modules. Currently, one additional module has been developed; this is the GVC Module 1, which covers operations that involve an unmanned aircraft being flown beyond the VLOS of the remote pilot but make use of visual observers for the purpose of avoiding collisions (ie Extended VLOS operations).

These bolt-on modules will allow you to complete more complex missions with your drone, similar to what is now granted through an OSC (Operating Safety Case).

Heliguy will be releasing more information on these bolt-on modules in due course.

How Long Does My GVC Last For?

The GVC, along with any additional modules that are attached to it, is valid for a period of five years from the date that the examination was taken.

What Happens If I Have A Valid PfCO?

Holders of a PfCO valid beyond the start of the new UK drone regulations can operate under the terms of the permission, until their renewal date. 

When you renew after the new legislation begins, the PfCO will become known as an Operational Authorisation, but you will be granted the same Standard Permissions as before.

 

Can I Use My GVC Before The New UK Drone Rules Start At The End Of December 2020?

Before the new UK drone rules begin, Heliguy will be teaching a hybrid course, covering the current and upcoming drone laws. Candidates who successfully complete the GVC course before the new laws begin can apply to the CAA for Standard Permissions to operate commercially. From 31 December 2020, holders can continue to operate under the terms of their current permissions, but on renewal, these will convert to an Operational Authorisation.

Do I need any kind of insurance before I take the course?

No - Heliguy offer free insurance for your practical flight assessment through their partners at Coverdrone.

Once you're operating commercially of course, you'll need to have insurance in place to protect your operations and your equipment.

Do I need any experience with Drones before attending the coures?

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.

If you're looking for CAA approved drone training near you - check out our locations here.

What do I do if I fail one of the tests on this 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.

What are the Open, Specific and Certified drone categories?

Under the new EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency) laws, three categories will 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 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.


More Information On New UK Drone Regulations

 
What Are The New Drone Classes?

As part of the new regulations, a new class system for drones will be 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.


Explore New Drone Class System

What Is The Transitional Period?

Because no drones currently meet the class requirements, a Transitional Period will run from November 2020, to July 1, 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.


A2 CofC vs GVC - Which Do You Need?

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

In the past - Heliguy were 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 862 298 5964 to discuss what options you may have.

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

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

Whether or not you'll need some form of qualification depends on the circumstances of your flight.

Use the button below to learn more about the "categories" of flight.

Open Category Drone Flights

Showing our 2 GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) Training Course reviews with an average rating of Excellent. Would you like to write a review?
Review Summary - 5 out of 5 based on 2 ratings.
August 27, 2020 | Marcus Lawrence
No better way to obtain the GVC Certificate. Many thanks guys.

Fantastic, friendly and informative crew. Ultra patient in my never ending questions and displayed a deep knowledge and interest in all the topics to do with SUA operations. They have my genuine appreciation.

Colena Inc
August 19, 2020 | Stefan
I'm satisfied

Very good course, Some of the topics nee a bit more detailed explanation. Excellent training team.

Colena Inc

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