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Where Can I Fly My Drone As A Hobbyist With A PfCO?

It can be difficult to understand where you can and can’t fly your drone when you are mixing your drone for business and pleasure.

Once you have completed your drone training and obtained your PfCO, you can fly your drone in congested areas and get closer than 150m (providing you fill out your paperwork – see below) whether it is commercial, i.e. for a client, or not.

Without the PfCO you must abide by the Drone Code and Air Navigation Order, keeping at least 150m away from the congested area and 50m away from people, vessels and structures not in your control.


Preparing to fly over congested areas

Hobbyists do not need to fill out risk assessments and paperwork which are prerequisites for commercial flights. As a hobbyist you have to abide by the regulations CAP 393 – The Air Navigation order (Articles 94 & 95) as well as the guidance laid down in CAP 722 – Unmanned Aircraft System Operations in UK Airspace – Guidance & Policy.

When you fly commercially under your PfCO, you have to conduct extra planning and paperwork, as per your Operations Manual, including: risk assessments, insurance, crew briefing etc. for every flight.

However as we’ve already stated, if you are a hobbyist who 

  1. Is not flying commercially and 
  2. Is flying under Standard Permissions granted to you by the CAA

Then you do not need to fill out any paperwork and you can fly in what could be described as a congested area. But you must maintain a distance of 150m from the congested area, as well as 50 metres away from people, vessels, and structures not under your control.


Do my hobbyist flying hours count towards my PfCO renewal?

Any flying you do with your drone you should be recording in your logbook. This includes all recreational, practice or commercial flights. All flying you conduct should be recorded in your logo book which will count towards the minimum requirements of 2 hours+ in the 3 months leading up to your renewal of a PfCO.



If you want to fly in a crowd or congested area (inside 150m) then you will need a PfCO.

Otherwise you will need to operate with the Drone Code and Air Navigation (ANO) order which state you must maintain a minimum of 50m from Persons, Vessels, Vehicles and Structures (PVVS) at all times and staying more than 150m clear of a congested area.

Are you thinking about attaining your PfCO form the caa, why not check out our 0% Pay As You Go Offer? Where you can split the cost over 3 payments and access our E-learning resources.Give one of the team a call on 01302 802221 or email info@hummingbird-uav.co.uk if you are unsure who are on-hand to answer any questions that you have.

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