Drone Ground School

Get the best support to get your PfCO

Thanks very much to the incredible guys at Drone Partners. I have just returned from a 3 day course with these amazing guys who have given me a very substantial grip on the requirements for becoming a Commercial Drone Pilot. The course is very intensive so be warned, however the guys have infinite patience and a thoroughly outstanding knowledge of the industry. I need to make some tweeks to my operations manual and then submit it to the CAA for assessment. I cant recommend them highly enough.

Donald Lang

I recommend Andrew and the team at DronePartners. As well as the accredited training, the shared experience and knowledge sets their team apart.

Erland RendellDirector & Owner at Atorus Consult Ltd

The guys at DronePartners really helped me to gain a better understanding and appreciation of being a drone pilot and how there is so much more than just being competent in the air. I would highly recommend them for anyone looking to gain their PfCO

Michael Lazenby

Thank you to everyone at DronePartners for your patience and time you have taken with me throughout the process of obtaining my PfCO. It was a very enjoyable experience and one in which i am very privileged to have taken part in.

Cameron Kinder, UAS Pilot & Technical Support

I did my pfco course with Andrew and the team. I cannot endorse them strongly enough. Lots of theory which they made clear with a bit of fun mixed in. Great service, great people and amazing support.

Mark Miles


Are you looking for a ground school to really help you get started?  The DronePartners course takes you beyond a basic ground school course.  With 3 days of classroom training covering the key education goals required by the UK CAA, practical flight planning and safe setup demonstration we really give you the confidence you need.  With a team that has delivered over 200 ground schools in the UK we give you the best start possible.

Our 3 flight assessment levels enable us to assess you in the context of your operations as required by the UK CAA – see IN 2017/018.

Upon completion of this course and passing the two stage assessment you will be able to apply for a Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) with the UK CAA.

Our trainers are commercial drone pilots with a wealth of real world practical experience in filming, thermography, surveying and inspecting with drones.

Our course covers more than the CAA’s minimum requirements including: Congested Area Planning and Better Data Collection(photography fundamentals) so that we can really help you accelerate becoming a real  drone pilot. 

For current PPL, CPL and ATPL holders wishing to gain their PfCO, the CAA has devised an alternative application procedure. Please see here for more details

The Process

There are 6 elements to this process starting with pre-study and ending with your application for your PfCO to the UK CAA.  The optional element is flight coaching, which we would recommend if you are new to flying drones.

  • Complete your course pre-study
  • Complete the 3 day ground school
  • Prepare your Operations Manual
  • Obtain Insurance
  • Complete your Flight Assessment
  • Submit your application to the CAA

The pre-study materials help you arrive at the course prepared to get the most out of the course.  In addition we provide you with an operations manual template to help you complete your own operations manual.  The course price includes the ground school, exam, flight reference card templates, operations manual template, forms templates and flight assessment.

Day 1 and 2

The first two days cover the syllabus requirements of the UK CAA.  The topics covered are:

  • UAS Airspace Operating Principles
  • Airmanship and Aviation Safety
  • Air Law and Responsibilities
  • Meteorology
  • Navigation Charts
  • Human Factors
  • Aircraft Knowledge
  • Operating Procedures

The ground school examination complies with the CAA’s assessment criteria and is closed book and is a multiple choice examination.  It is followed by a Flight Planning Assessment, which is outside the CAA’s syllabus, but as a practical test provides the student with first hand planning experience for real commercial operations.



The agenda for the day is:

  • Congested Area Planning
  • Introduction to Better Data Collection
  • Flying skills Explained
  • PfCO Application Process

You’ll be provided with the result of your ground school examination and feedback on your Flight Planning Assessment at the start of Day 3.  If you haven’t met the CAA’s required pass mark of 75% on the ground school examination there will be an opportunity to resit the ground school examination later on Day 3.

Image of Drone ground school

After the Ground School

Flight Assessment

If you meet the pre-requisites to complete your flight test you complete this on the third day (subject to availability).  This needs to be arranged in advance and you need to have completed the first draft of your operations manual.  For further information about pre-requisites for the flight test visit the Flight Test Page.  If you don’t meet the pre-requisites or you just want more time to practice you can schedule your flight test for a later date.  However, you need to complete your flight test within 3 months of passing your ground school exam.

Operations Manual

You need to write your operations manual, this document sets out your policies and how you will conduct safe operations with your drone.  This can seem like a daunting document, but when you book onto the ground school we provide you with comprehensive templates and advice during the course to help you complete this.

In addition we complete a review of your operations manual before you submit your application to the CAA.

Obtain Insurance

You can not take your flight assessment or submit your application to the CAA without having insurance in place covering flying your drone.  Standard public liability polices almost always do not cover drone flying activities.  You usually need to obtain this type of insurance from specialists.  Also, some insurers will not cover you if you do not have a PfCO – creating a real problem for new pilots.  We can point you towards a number of insurers who offer policies for new pilots, specifically for this “pre-PfCO” situation.

We would recommend Moonrock they offer very comprehensive policies and a flight assessment policy too.

Man using a app mobile phone in modern office start-up.

Submission to the CAA

When you have completed all elements of the ground school, flight test, obtained insurance and we have reviewed your operations manual you will be able to complete your submission to the CAA.  This submission is made their online form – see the CAA’s website.

Insurance and the fee payable (currently £247.00) to the CAA for your PfCO are additional costs.  The turn around time on these applications is usually within 28 days.



Book online with our parent company Droneflight on their webshop.

  • 20-22 November, 2018, Studley, (nr Birmingham),  SPECIAL OFFER 3 day Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 22-23 January, 2019, Twickenham,  Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 5-6 February, 2019, Darlington, Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 19-20 February, 2019Studley, (nr Birmingham),  Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 26-27 March, 2019Twickenham,  Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 2-3 April, 2019, Darlington, Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 14-15 May, 2019Studley, (nr Birmingham),  Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 4-5 June, 2019, Darlington, Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 9-10 July, 2019Twickenham,  Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 10-11 September, 2019, Darlington, Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 15-16 October, 2019, Studley, (nr Birmingham),  Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 29-30 October, 2019Twickenham,  Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT
  • 2-3 December, 2019, Darlington, Ground school for PfCO, £695 plus VAT

Alternatively, email info@dronepartners.co.uk or call 01833 605014