Drone Ground School

Get the best support to get your PfCO


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.  We also provide you with hands on flight coaching during the 3 day course, weather permitting.

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 is considerably more practical and designed to bring together what you have learned in practice and provide you with some flight coaching, outside activities are weather dependant.  If you have your own drone you should bring it with you.  We have direct experience of operating a wide range of drones including: DJI, Zenith, Falcon 8, QuestUAV and others.  The agenda for the day is:

  • Operations Manual Status Review
    • Template Run Through
    • Pre-Requisite for the Practical Flight Assessment
  • Safe Set Up Demonstration
  • Flying Skills Evaluation and Coaching
  • Question and Answer Session

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 using an SRG 1320 – see the CAA’s website.

Insurance and the fee payable 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.

  • 6-8 March 2018, Richmond, North Yorkshire, Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 20-22 March, 2018, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire,  Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 10-12 April, 2018, Witney, Oxfordshire, Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 24-26 April, 2018, Richmond, North Yorkshire, Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 15-17 May, 2018, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire,  Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 5-7 June, 2018, Witney, Oxfordshire, Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 3-5 July, 2018, Richmond, North Yorkshire, Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 10-12 July, 2018, Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire,  Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 24-26 July, Witney, Oxfordshire, Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT
  • 14-16  August, Richmond, North Yorkshire, Ground school for PfCO, £995 plus VAT

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