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What is a drone licence and do I need one?

Last updated on

July 16, 2021


    Confused about the latest drone regulations?

    Are you confused about the new drone regulations that came into place in December 2020? Unsure of the differences between the A2 CofC or the GVC? Don’t worry… Coptrz has got you covered.

    We have put together an eBook covering all of the information you need to know about the drone regulation changes. You can download your copy here.

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    With the fast speed at which drone technology is progressing and gaining attention in the UK, there comes a stream of questions from users who do not have a large amount of drone experience. One of those ‘FAQs’ is: “What is a drone licence, and do I need one?” In this blog, we will address the issue.

    Heads up: If you’d rather watch our experts talk you through the new drone regulations, you can! Jamie and Duncan take you through the latest UK drone regulations in this video Drone Regs: EXPLAINED. Watch it now.

    The most important part of the changes to the UK Drone Laws in 2020, is that the A2 CofC replaced the PfCO qualification in December 2020 as part of the changes to European regulations. Anyone who wants to fly a drone whether commercially or as a hobbyist will need an A2 CofC. This doesn’t mean that your PfCO will be invalid, in fact, it will be valid until it’s up for renewal.  We have written an entire blog dedicated to the A2 CofC, and answered your most commonly asked questions about the A2 CofC,  you can have a read here.

    Did you know that Coptrz has the UK’s leading Drone Training Academy?  If you’re interested in drone training for you or your organisation then find out more here.

    Who needs a drone licence?

    To put it simply, drone licences don’t exist. 

    There is no longer a distinction between a hobbyist and a commercial operator. It all comes down to what aircraft you are using and where you are operating. Pilots can now operate in the open category with no qualifications as long as they have read the user manual and completed their DMARES online training and exam to receive their flyer and operator IDs. Pilots with no qualifications can operate in the A1 & A2 subcategory’s with a Legacy or privately built aircraft below 250 grams or with a C0 or C1 aircraft once they are released. You may also operate in the A3 Subcategory with any aircraft under 25kg again once reading the user manual and completing the DMARES online training and test.

    If you are wanting to operate closer to people and potentially within congested areas you would need to obtain your A2 CofC or your GVC. It is recommended to do your research before operating and make sure you understand the subcategories and the aircraft.

    Most importantly, you must register as an operator and a flyer, as it’s against the law to fly without passing an online test and registering.

    What training do I need to use my drone for personal videography and photography?

    If you plan on using your drone for personal/hobbyist use then you will need to get your A2 CofC. Once you have your A2 CofC you will be able to operate in the OPEN Category under the new UAS legislation.

    The A2 CofC course covers theory such as the basic principles of flight, operating in congested areas, how to avoid collisions, battery safety, and how to operate depending on a range of environmental factors.

    Having your A2 CofC allows you to fly popular drones such as the Mavic Mini, Mavic Mini 2 and Parrot ANAFI USA.

    Why should I take the steps needed to get my A2 CofC or GVC?

    – Drone technology is becoming increasingly beneficial in providing a range of business solutions to customers. Undertaking the necessary training needed to qualify for an A2 CofC can offer a significant advantage; both to companies with access to drone technology, and individual operators who wish to provide services on a freelance basis.

    – Only by training with Coptrz Academy will you get access to monthly A2 CofC accelerator sessions with our team of UAV experts, Drone Regulations Q&A’s and live weekly Drone Talk’s with Jamie Cording. On top of that, we are the first and only training provider that allows you to sit your A2 CofC or GVC exam 24/7.

    – Seeking professional guidance from experts as a part of training for an A2 CofC can allow drone operators to use the technology more safely and effectively.

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    How do I get my A2 CofC?

    An A2 CofC can be acquired by completing the Coptrz A2 CofC drone training course, which equips participants with the skills, knowledge and experience necessary for drone use.

    The course consists of four modules and then once you’ve completed your online drone training and some practical flight training, you’ll complete a 30 question theory exam.

    The A2 CofC course covers theory such as the basics principles of flight, operating in congested areas, how to avoid collisions, battery safety and how to operate depending on a range of environmental factors.

    Your A2 CofC qualification will last for 5 years before you want to renew it.

    If you are unsure about getting your A2 CofC, think about it, what have you got to lose? By completing your training with Coptrz Academy, it will allow you to operate with the peace of mind you have trained with the best and can operate your UAV safely.

    Frequently Asked Questions about Drone Training with Coptrz Academy

    • Since the drone regulations changed, can I still operate on PfCO?

    Yes, as long as it is valid. You can continue to operate under your PfCO’s specific limitations and conditions while it’s valid and you can continue to renew it for the next few years. When it comes to renewing your PfCO, its name will change to an Operational Authorisation. 

    • What does the A2 CofC Course Include?

    Coptrz Academy A2 CofC course includes 4 online training modules, virtual classrooms, practical self-study guidance and ends with a multiple-choice theory exam of 30 questions. You can find out more about taking your A2 CofC by clicking here.

    • What drone can I use for my drone training flight test?

    We would recommend a DJI or Parrot drone for flight tests. One question we frequently get asked is about the suitability of the Mavic Air for flight tests, this drone is perfectly fine and is one we would recommend and easy to fly in a flight test situation.

    • What course do I need to do if I want to fly commercially?

    With the changes to the UK drone laws, whether you fly for hobby or commercial reasons is no longer a consideration in what course you need, it comes down to the risk your flight would pose to uninvolved people. If you are flying a smaller aircraft with low risk, an A2 CofC may be perfect. For larger aircraft that pose a bigger risk, you made need an Operational Authorisation, a GVC is needed to apply for this. You can find out more about the courses we run in Coptrz Academy here.

    • How much is Drone Insurance?

    You can get Drone Insurance from as little as £23 per month depending on the level of cover you need.

    • Is there a drone training centre near me?

    COPTRZ drone training centres are positioned to have the best coverage of the UK, ensuring that you don’t have to travel far to complete your drone training.  You can see our training locations below. To find out more about our Drone Training and our locations across the UK click here.

    coptrz academy training locations

    OFQUAL Level 4 Accredited CAA Training Course

    COPTRZ are an approved NQE (National Qualification Examination) provider.

    We’re also the only Drone Training Academy to be able to separately provide you with an academically registered qualification under OFQUAL (Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation) as a Level 4 award.

    Get your Drone Training from the UK’s Leading Drone Academy

    The drone industry is starting to come of age, and with that comes closer alignment with other industries that would benefit from making their operations safer, faster and more cost-effective.  We take drone training seriously, we know you do to otherwise you wouldn’t be reading this article right now.  To find out how Coptrz Academy will help you stand out from the crowd and get you operational with confidence – Read more here.

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