Ten Questions to ask when choosing a PfCO Course

Image of two drone pilots operating a drone

Posted 03 May 2019

 

Q: Is it for me?

A: We only think you should think about doing a PfCO Course if you are using, or plan to use, a drone for commercial activities.  If you are involved in the built environment, we think drones will become as essential as a laptop and smartphone.  Likewise if you are a commercial photographer working outdoors.  So our answer is definitely that you should, and we firmly believe that when we deliver this course from 3iC (NQE No. 0116/1625) and enhance it with our very practical Ground School it makes it the best that you can get!  Otherwise, unless you plan to earn money with your drone, probably not.

If you want to learn more about drones, but won’t be flying commercially, you are better joining one of our one-day drone workshops, or coming on one of our holidays!

Q: Will I be ready to apply for my PfCO the day the Course finishes?

A: On this Course, the answer is yes.  Because we include not just Ground School, but also loads of practical drone flying training, your Operations Manual written with you, and your Flight Test during the Course.

Q: How much actual drone flying experience will my instructors have?

A: Your Course Instructors have completed thousands of drone flights, in the UK, and across Europe, in their roles as instructors, and flying drones commercially.  They pour all of the knowledge they have accumulated from these flights, successful, and sometimes not successful, into their teaching on the Course.

Q: How long does it take?

A: We have Courses running from 2.5 days to 5 days, weekends and weekdays.  The Short Course covers everything you need, and nothing else.  The longer Courses include more of the stuff that will help you in future, as well as the stuff you need to satisfy the CAA.

Q: What is the maximum student : instructor ratio?

A: With us, the maximum is 4 : 1.  We keep it low in order to give everyone the attention they deserve.

Q: What is the pass rate?

A: Everyone who has attended this Course over the last two years has completed it successfully.  Not always first time(!).  But it is our mission to do everything we can to support you to succeed.  There is no charge for retakes, no matter how many are required.

Q: What resources do I get before the Course begins?

A: You get a comprehensive set of eight online videos.  Each one runs about an hour, and covers one of the eight modules you are required to learn in order to pass the Theory Test element of the PfCO.  At the end of each video, there is a multiple-choice test, which will give you a good idea of how well you have mastered the subject.  You can view each video and complete each test as many times as you wish.

Q: I don’t currently own a drone.  Can you help me choose the right one?

A: Certainly.  We pride ourselves on our comprehensive knowledge of the full range of DJI drones.  And we will never try to sell you something more than you need.  Indeed “do you really need that?” is something clients choosing a drone hear from us a lot.

Q: What happens if it rains?

A: We keep a close eye on the forecast throughout the Course, and adapt the Course programme accordingly, to take advantage of good weather to get outside and go flying.  We also have a waterproof Matrice 200 drone available, as well as some baby Spark & Tello drones that fly well indoors, so that we can continue flying in bad weather.  To date, we have always been able to complete all of the Flight Tests during the Course.

Q: How can I get my flying skills to the required standard?

A: We are all about transparency.  So as soon as you sign up for this Course, we send you a copy of the Flight Test manoeuvres you will be required to complete to a high standard to pass the Flight Test.  Ahead of the Course, we recommend if possible that you come for a two-hour practical one-to-one drone flying lesson.  During this lesson, we can talk through what the test involves, determine your current standard of flying skills, and identify the areas you may need to work on ahead of the Flight Test.

Q: Do I have to write my own Operations Manual?

A: The good news is that, no you don’t, or at least not on your own!  We write the Operations Manual with you, based on a template that we constantly amend and adapt to meet the CAA’s requirements, and information that we ask you to give us: the name of your business; the type & serial number of your drone etc.  To comply with the CAA’s expectations, we do test you on the key information contained in your Operations Manual during the Course.  But this is a breeze compared with the painful, sometimes months long process of writing it totally by yourself.

Q: What happens after my Course?

A: We will send you the Certificates you need to submit to the CAA with your PfCO application immediately you complete the Course.  During the Course, we go through how to complete your application, and we offer a free vetting service to make sure your application is in order before you submit it if you have any concerns.

Q: Do you offer continuing support?

A: Very much so.  Everyone who completes their PfCO with us becomes a member of our Phantom Pro Club.  This provides you with:

  • A private FaceBook group for Pro Club Members
  • Discounts on our full range of Drone Workshops and Masterclasses
  • 50% off membership of the Guild of Photographers
  • Regular informal get-togethers for Pro Club members to share ideas, discuss new opportunities, and keep abreast of the latest developments in hardware, software, and legislation

Q: Anything else I should know?

A: Our enhanced 3iC PfCO Course costs from just £995 + VAT. Get free extra training worth £200 when you book your PfCO before the end of April. CLICK HERE to email us, or call us for details on 01244 893 872

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