Category Archives for "Flight Training"

A Brief Guide to Drone Pilot Training and Aerial Work

Drone Pilot TrainingIf you’ve ever wondered about using drones commercially and what you have to do to meet the current UK regulations, this brief summary may help….

If you are going to be using a drone in exchange for what the CAA terms “valuable consideration” then you will need to apply to them for a Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW). It is worth noting that the term “valuable consideration” can include methods of payment other than money, for example: free advertising or payment in kind, now or in the future so it is quite a broad definition!

To apply for a PFAW you need to submit application form SRG1320 to the CAA. This form is fairly straightforward to complete. It must be sent to the CAA along with: 1) photos of the drones you intend to use 2) your Operations Manual 3) a copy of your Remote Pilot Qualification 4) a copy of your insurance details.

Operations Manual? The CAA provide a template for this in Appendix B of their main drone-related publication, CAP722 . The purpose is to define how the Operator is organised and how it will operate. The Operator can be an individual (including sole traders and partnerships) or a company. Some drone training organisations can provide help with producing this document.

Remote Pilot Qualification? All remote pilots who fly aircraft for the Operator must possess a remote pilot qualification that is acceptable to the CAA. Organisations approved by the CAA to provide the training and assessment required for the award of these qualifications are called Full National Qualified Entities (NQEs). As of writing, there are 6 of these organisations and the CAA maintain an updated list on their website. Candidates must successfully demonstrate competence with regard to their knowledge and skill and this is achieved by passing a knowledge exam and a practical flight test. The knowledge exam is preceded by varying amounts of self-study and ground school depending on the NQE but the resulting qualifications are all equal in the eyes of the CAA. There is also a Restricted NQE status – these organisations (there is only one as of writing) are able to carry out the Practical Flight Tests but not the Knowledge elements.

Whispercam is the newest Full NQE and we believe that candidates can master most of the Knowledge required through some self-study prior to the ground school. Online training materials are provided which cover everything needed to pass the exam. As a result the ground school and computer-based multiple choice exam are completed in one day and you should leave the training centre holding your Unmanned Aircraft Pilot Qualification for the Knowledge element – UAPQ (K). Once you have passed your Practical Flight Test you will be awarded the UAPQ (F). Depending on the class of aircraft flown during the Flight Test, you will be awarded the UAPQ-s7 (0-7 kg) or the UAPQ-s20 (7-20 kg) – it will also specify whether the aircraft was a multirotor or fixed wing. You are now qualified to fly any aircraft within that class.

Hopefully that demystifies the subject slightly but if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask us or any of the other NQEs. Happy and safe flying!

Paul Nicklin. Director, Whispercam