PfCO – Your questions answered

Why choose PhantomFlightSchool?

Because we offer a Radically Better PfCO Course

Our course runs over three days (five days for overseas Courses), with attendees completing everything they need to be in a position to submit their application to the CAA at the end of the Course.  We are not aware of anyone else who offers this routinely, the way we do, on every Course we run.  We will even review all of your paperwork before you submit it to the CAA to make sure it is correct.

This way, we are compressing what usually takes people two to three months into just three days.  And adding value to the experience at every step of the way.

Specifically, on a PhantomFlightSchool PfCO Course, you get everything you need to immediately submit your Application to the CAA including:

  1. Practical Flight Training
  2. Ground School
  3. Ops Manual
  4. Theory Test
  5. Flight Test

Uniquely, what you also get are:

  1. Real Life Case Studies
  2. How much to charge
  3. The Right Kit for the Job
  4. The Right Apps to Help You
  5. How to Plan and Risk Assess any Mission
  6. Ongoing Support and Advice from our Drone Experts to help you make a success of your Commercial Operations.
  7. Optional Day 4, for only an extra £100 including VAT get: Night Ops Training, Intelligent Flight Mode training, Drone Deploy Demonstration, bonus pack and additional practical flying.

We have DJI Spark and Tello drones for flying indoors, and a waterproof Matrice 200 for flying in all weather.  So rain will not stop play.

What is a drone licence?

What some people call a “drone licence” is actually a “Permission for Commercial Operations” (PfCO) issued by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).  You require a PfCO to undertake commercial drone operations in the UK.

Do I need a drone licence / PfCO?

The crucial point to understand is that you only need a PfCO if you want to earn money from flying your drone.  So long as there is no actual consideration, nor the promise or expectation of consideration, related to your drone work, then you do not need your PfCO.

We are not in the business of telling people they must have their PfCO where this is not the case.  Call us on 01244 893 872, any time, and we’ll be happy to advise you whether in our opinion you need a PfCO to do what you want with your drone.

How can I get my PfCO?

To get your PfCO you will need to complete a PfCO Course with a recognised training body, usually a National Qualifying Entity, or NQE.

Once you complete your Course with us, you will have everything you need to submit your application for a PfCO to the CAA, including:

  1. Theory Test Certificate
  2. Practical Flight Assessment Certificate
  3. Certificate of Recommendation to the CAA
  4. Operations Manual

When you look at other training entities PfCO Course, make sure you understand when and how they expect you to complete your Operations Manual and Flight Test.  As very often they expect you to complete your Operations Manual from scratch in your own time, get your flying skills up to scratch without support, and only then let you book a date and time for your Flight Test, often miles from where you live.

The format of our course is the most time-efficient possible, providing you with all of the necessary certificates immediately upon completion of the three days.

Do you offer bespoke Course options?

If you have three or more individuals who require training at the same time, then we can come to you.  Don’t worry if you do not have space on site for us to fly drones.  So long as you are not based in the centre of a major city, we can generally find somewhere nearby that is suitable for drone flying. Call us to discuss your requirements so we can tailor a course for you. Pricing individual based on requirements.

I am very time poor. What are my options?

By arrangement, we offer a one-to-one, two day PfCO Course, that can even be undertaken over a single weekend.  The student will be expected to undertake around ten hours of study using our Online Learning Materials before the Course, and must already have a good standard of flying skills.  Depending on your preferred dates and location, our price for this option starts at £1,495 including VAT.

Want to find out more about our drone courses? Call us on 01244 893 872, any time, and we’ll be glad to help.

Do I need to provide my own drone?


No you don’t.  Although the vast majority of students arrive on the Course with a drone.  Because it is hard to achieve the required familiarity with your kit, and standard of flying competence, without a drone of your own.  But if it is the case that you are simply “between drones”, or want to pick our brains about which is the right drone for you before purchasing one, then you are welcome to hire one of our drones.  We can hire you a DJI drone for the duration of the Course for £75 including VAT.

I have already completed an equivalent to your theory component with another training provider. Will I need to complete this again?

Yes. Even if you have completed an equivalent to our theory course, to gain the full certification from us to obtain your PfCO you will still need to join the course on the first day and you will be required to pass our Theory Test.

However, if you hold a current valid PPL or equivalent then provided the CAA issue the required waiver then you will not be required to pass our Theory Test.

Where can I do the course?

We run the Course at least once a month, alternating between Maidstone in Kent and Chester in Cheshire.  In both cases we base ourselves at a Mercure Hotel chosen for the General Manager’s enthusiasm for drones, and our ability to fly right from the grounds of the hotel.

There is also the option to complete your PfCO as part of one of our drone holidays in Spain.

Or call us to talk about the option of a bespoke course where we can come to you.

Do you help me with the Operations Manual?

Unlike most Training Providers we don’t just provide you with a template and advice. Rather, we provide you with a Provisional Copy of your personalised Ops Manual at the start of the course and work with you to ensure your familiarity with it before testing you at the end of the course to make sure that you know it thoroughly.

What if I fail the Theory Test?

In the unlikely event of you failing your Theory Test we have a back-up plan! We will allow you to sit a second test (with different questions) later on in the course but would strongly recommend that you re-visit all of the online modules before taking the second test. Successful completion of the Theory Test is required before the PFA can be undertaken.

What if I fail the Practical Flight Assessment (PFA)?

Should you fail your PFA we will work with you to address the reasons for your failure, and correct any problems that may have arisen.  We will then make time to retest you during the Course at no extra charge.

Should you fail a second time, then we will give you a clear list of areas you will need to work on, and set a time and date of your choosing for a further PFA .  This can be undertaken at any of our flying locations around the UK.  In this case, there is an extra charge of £100 + VAT.

Can you offer bespoke courses?

We are happy to provide our training on a bespoke basis and the breadth of experience of our instructors enables us to tailor our courses with a particular emphasis on areas such as stills photography, video, land surveys, building surveys, roof inspection, sports training etc.

Do you offer a Night Operations module?

Yes. This is part of the course content for the optional day 4. This also includes: Intelligent Flight Mode training, drone deploy demonstration and additional practical flying. We include all of the theory and practical elements for you to be confident to include Night Operations in your application to the CAA. This bonus day costs just £100 including VAT.

Some providers are cheaper, so why should I go with you?

We appreciate that some PfCO Courses are cheaper than ours.  We believe that the amount of added value we create during the Course more than makes up for the extra cost.  And our clients agree.  See our Testimonials page for what they have to say about the Course.

Do I need insurance to undertake your PfCO Course?

You will be required to have the appropriate insurance in place for the Practical Flight Assessment, which will take place on day two or three of the Course.  You have a couple of options here.  The cheapest and easiest solution is to become a member of FPV UK, and then take out their “Flight Test Supplement”.   See their website,, for more details.

Alternatively, you can arrange your annual commercial drone insurance ahead of the Course, or arrange Flight Test cover with one of these companies, who will then deduct this payment from the overall cost of your annual policy.

Pricing and terms are changing all the time, so we recommend that you check out the cover available from Moonrock, CoverDrone, and Insurance4Drones, at least, before committing yourself.

How long will it take me to gain my PfCO?

You should allow sufficient time to study and absorb our online training materials prior to attending the course. With 8 separate modules to learn, an absolute minimum of eight hours should be allowed, but many students benefit from spending more time on this… The good news is that you can tackle this in “bite-size chunks” in your own time!

We prefer to give our students about 4 weeks prior to the course in order to complete this distance learning but it can be achieved in much less time with the right level of discipline and application.

Provided you arrive on the first day having spent sufficient time on your preparation then you can expect to complete all of the required elements in the three days of the course.

The CAA typically takes 2 to 4 weeks to process your PfCO application from the date of submission, so you should factor this in when planning a start date for your professional drone activity.

How do I apply for my PfCO?

Once you have received your RPQ certificates from us, your application for your PfCO is made directly to the CAA by filling in their online application form. The CAA charge for this application is £247 initial application charge for all aircraft under 20kg + £185 for each annual renewal.

Click here to see the CAA form.  During the Course we will go through with you how to complete it.

How do I book my Course?

Click here to see our programme of dates and venues. You can book and pay online or call us and we will be happy to assist you.

How much does it cost?

Our three day course is £895 including VAT.

We offer an optional Day 4 for just an extra £100 including VAT. This bonus day covers: Night Ops, Intelligent Flight Mode Training, Drone Deploy demonstration, bonus pack and additional practical flying. For people who have or are completing a PfCO with another organisation, the cost is £150 including VAT.

We need a £300 non-refundable deposit to book a place on a Course, with the balance due 30 days before the Course begins.  If bad luck intervenes, and you need to change the dates for your Course, we will do our utmost to accommodate this. Within 90 days of the course date there is a charge.

Discounts are available for multiple bookings. Call us on 01244 893 872, any time, and we’ll be glad to help.