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Why you need a PfCO for Commercial work and the benefits

Want to pursue a career as a commercial drone pilot? You definitely need to take a professional drone flying course.


It’s 2018 and we’re seeing more and more jobs arise for professional drone pilots, as drones are consistently used in commercial industries, the scope for employment opportunities and freelance work is huge.


Whilst you don’t need a qualification when using a drone for recreational purposes, they are required for commercial drone use to ensure you operate within the safety standards set of the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). This is otherwise known as a CAA Permission for Commercial Operations, or PfCO.


The experience and the knowledge you can learn from a drone flying course will leave you looking like the Top Gun pilot of the drone world.


Besides, why not take advantage of turning a hobby into an income?


Still not convinced why you NEED the qualification? Let’s take a look at some of the advantages of becoming a drone pilot, or gaining further knowledge to an already established drone pilot.

Man checking drone before take off


Learn the essentials surrounding Drone Laws

As drones are growing in popularity, sadly, so are the the number of incidents involving them. Whilst there are many causes and incidents we can list, ensuring you are up to date on the latest Drone Laws here in the UK or where you operate could be crucial towards your safety and others.


Taking a professional drone flying course will teach you the latest Drone Laws and also how you can keep up to date with the latest additions and amendments to the law. This is crucial when operating as a commercial pilot.


The UK has introduced tighter measures surrounding the flight of drones, including on-the-spot fines for any drone users who breach the laws. We may also even see necessary testing for drone pilots, similar to how you need a driver’s licence to drive a vehicle. At the end of the day, although they are not often manned vehicles, you can still cause an accident with your drone which could have serious repercussions.

Airplane coming in to land

Drone Laws impose restrictions on flight paths, learn the laws and where to keep up with the latest amendments with a PcfCO course.


In July last year, a drone flying close to Gatwick Airport caused the closure of the runway and five flight diversions. The UK Airprox Board monitors incidents surrounding aircraft and compromised safety due to factors such as speed or position, which could be affected by a drone near the flightpath of an aircraft.


In 2016, there were 70 Airprox reports involving drones close to aircraft in the UK.


From the 30th July, you can no longer fly a drone above 400 feet or within a kilometre of airport boundaries. Seen as reckless and endangering an aircraft, you could face a fine of up to £2500 or up to five years in prison.


From 30th November 2019, all drones that weigh at least 250g will have to register with the CAA and take an online safety test, which makes PfCO courses like we deliver at Hummingbird essential.


Failure to register your drone, or complete the tests could result in a fine of up to £1000.


There are many other laws and practises which you can learn from drone training and a drone flying course.

CAA Licensed for commercial work

Become approved for commercial drone work with a PfCO.


You have extra flight advantages

In obtaining a PfCO you can receive special permissions and exemptions against other drone pilots without the course.


In accordance with the CAA website:

With permission from the CAA you will be able to fly your aircraft:

  • within 150m of either a congested area or an organised open air crowd or more than 1000 persons (iaw ANO2016 article 95),


  • within 50m of people or properties/objects that are not under your control (iaw ANO2016 article 95)


In both cases however, the CAA must still be suitably satisfied that the operation can be conducted safely.


Two types of Permission are available; Standard Permission and Non-Standard Permission.


To learn more about the permissions and exemptions, take a look at the CAA website here: https://www.caa.co.uk/Commercial-industry/Aircraft/Unmanned-aircraft/Small-drones/Permissions-and-exemptions-for-commercial-work-involving-small-drones/


Increase your employment opportunities

You’ve probably heard this time and time again, but technology really is advancing and bringing along new careers that didn’t exist a decade ago. In fact, some even in the last five years. When you look at the drone industry, this is a prime example of this. Commercial drone pilots are being sought after and you could put yourself in the employee bracket with a professional drone pilot course.


When applying for roles within the drone industry, employers will take a look over your CV for relevant experience and qualifications. Say it’s between two candidates. One with 4 years of self-taught experience and the other with 4 years of experience AND having taken a drone flying course. You know which one they will choose…


A drone flying course will teach you everything from the basics of how to fly your drone safely to the legal limitations and prohibitions of flying a drone. Whilst you can teach yourself how to fly a drone, becoming a qualified drone pilot will ensure you can apply for commercial work and pursue a career as a drone pilot. Because there is much more to flying your device than the view from the top (or from the ground).


Whilst Hummingbird’s PfCO courses remain competitive in price, the potential earnings following a course more than outweigh the cost of the course.


Securing a job as a commercial Drone Pilot could earn you a great income in this lucrative emerging industry.


Add to your business prospects and services

As we’ve said previously, the drone industry is an emerging market and perhaps one that your business could take advantage of. Having a qualified Drone Pilot and UAV could be a great asset to your business.


The main industries that drones operate in are construction and agriculture, but there are many more we could mention.


Your services could include everything from assistance in surveillance, infrastructure maintenance, aerial mapping and photography and videography which can be used for films and television.


Considering the future of drone and UAV capability could be huge moving forward for your business.


Thinking about the plans for deliveries and post moving forward. We currently have fleets of lorries delivering parcels but the future of the postal service looks like to turn to literal “air” mail.

You never know what the latest use for drones could be, so get ahead of the game with a qualified drone pilot.



Have we convinced you to take a drone flying course? Become a qualified drone pilot with Hummingbird UAV at our state-of-the-art facility, with training from experts and drone pilots with over 30 years experience.

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