Drone License - How to Apply for a PFCO

Learn to fly and earn legally with your drone

Drone License

Firstly, a drone license isn't actually a thing...it doesn't exist. To fly a drone in the UK you will need either a PFCO (permission for commercial operations) or registration with the CAA. So, how to fly a drone non-commercially? As of late 2019, you will need to register your UAV. To fly commercially and earn money with your drone, you will need a PFCO which I've held since 2015.

I trained for and passed my flight test back in 2015. This gave me my PFCO which has allowed me to earn money (good money) flying my UAV. I have worked with some amazing companies. I've been lucky to fly in some very cool places from inside the Tate Modern to film and TV sets.

The Drone Law

Fancy earning some money on the side without a PFCO? Don't bother.

I have recently spent some time with the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority). I now know for sure that they are doing regular spot checks on illegal drone operations. Even if you keep your work away from social media or YouTube, the CAA will spot check the actual companies that are using the footage.

This will inevitably come back to you with a hefty fine or even prison sentence...really.

For the sake of a reasonable investment in a PFCO through our Drone Pilot Ground School (more below), you will save yourself and your clients a lot of time, headaches and money. Having peace of mind doing things legally greatly outweighs the ramifications of flying illegally whilst earning money from your drone.

Drone Pilot Ground School

In June 2019, myself along with Justin and Kat Glynn, met with the CAA in Dorset. Justin and Kat from Harbour Media had spent the best part of a year preparing to apply for their NQE. Or National Qualified Entity. After a long meeting, discussions and site assessment, we are now able to legally train, teach and qualify new aerial drone pilots for their PFCO.

We were interviewed by the CAA for around 4 hours at the location of our new training school. This is an amazing heliport on Portland near Weymouth in Dorset and is incredibly unique. After careful scrutiny and consideration, we all passed muster and were granted permission to run the school.

So, if you are looking to get your own PFCO (not a drone license ; ) and start earning money with your drone, check us out below. I can guarantee you will not find a better location to learn from!

About the author

Nick Stubbs is a professional photographer, filmmaker and drone pilot with over 35 years experience in the imaging business. Still as passionate about his work as he was aged 13. Married with two kids and living in the beautiful town of Weymouth in Dorset.

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