HALO Drones has been awarded the status of a Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE) by the CAA and can now start offering A2 CofC and GVC drone training courses! Now, apart from an excuse for us to big ourselves up and have a bit of a party (virtually of course) what else does this mean?

What is a RAE?

Becoming a RAE (Recognised Assessment Entity) means we are authorised by the CAA to deliver training and assessments in order to grant certificates of competency that comply with the new European regulations which are due to come into force as of the new year.  Due to the change in regulations, all previous CAA approved drone training schools registered as NQE’s (Nationally qualified Entities) will need to transition to an RAE to continue delivering training and assessments needed for pilots to comply with the new regulations.


Where regulations had previously been specific to and different from each country, the European Union has harmonised the rules that regulate the use of all Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS or Drone) across all of Europe. These new regulations come into force in the new year and their intention is to encourage cross border operations and provide more proportionate regulation that is specific to where and what is flying.

The previous PfCO Course (Permission for Commercial Operations) is no longer relevant or valid for these new regulations. So, these new regulations will impact you if you fly, or hope to fly a drone now or in the future.

We’re delighted have been awarded the RAE status by the CAA. It’s testament to the work we put into our courses and making sure that they are highest quality drone training course on the market. The HALO team is looking forward to delivering the new courses and helping our students on their journey to becoming competent drone pilots.

Philip Tarry, Co-Founder, HALO Drones

So, what is a A2 CofC?

The A2 Certificate of Competency (A2CofC) is a new qualification that came into effect as part of the European UAS regulations in November 2020. By holding this certificate, you will be able to show that you have the technical and operational knowledge to safely operate your drone in the A2 subcategory of the open category.

We consider this course, the equivalent of the CBT course for driving scooters. It will limit what and where you can fly, but the competency requirements, course fee and permitted limits present a very interesting proposition for any budding drones pilots out there.

As a result of successfully completing this course, you will be able to fly your drone to a minimum safe horizontal distance of 30m from uninvolved people, or up to 5m in ‘low speed mode’ with a C2 marked drone.

So, what is a GVC?

GVC stands for General Visual Line of Sight Certificate. In order to obtain an Operational Authorisation (the new PfCO) from the CAA (required to operate in the Specific Category of the new rules), you need to successfully complete a GVC Course to demonstrate that you are able to safely operate a drone in accordance with guidelines set by the CAA. Now that we are a fully approved RAE, we are able to provide you with the training and assessments that allow us to issue you your General VLOS certificate.

Now that might all be a bit confusing if you don’t know what the specific category is etc so please visit our GVC Course page to learn more.

I have a PfCO, what do I do?

Firstly, let’s clarify a common misunderstanding. The Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) is exactly that, a Permission to Operate granted by the CAA, NOT a proof of pilot competency. If you completed your training prior to the end of 2020, you will have most likely received a ‘Recommendation certificate for a PfCO’. It’s that recommendation certificate that is proof of your pilot competency, and that does not need to be updated until the 1st of Jan 2024. This is being replaced by the General VLOS certificate.

Whilst the PfCO will become redundant, anyone with an existing PfCO that doesn’t expire until after 31st December 2020 will have it automatically transferred into the modern equivalent, known as an Operational Authorisation, at the point at which you renew it. Your “Recommendation Certification” will still be valid proof of pilot competency to continue operating under a OA, but you may wish to develop your understanding of the new rules and we have developed a PfCO to GVC Conversion Course specifically for those that want to convert their PfCO to GVC.

Why train with Halo Drones?

Halo Drones are a passionate team who believe in excellence. We have expert instructors and assessors who have delivered over 60 courses totalling more than 1,000 candidates, so you can trust you’re in reliable hands to learn and put into practice everything you need to fly your drone safely and lawfully. What’s more, we’re constantly researching and developing new technology and techniques to capture data, knowledge which is distributed through our training courses to help you deliver better drone services to your clients.

If you are ready to take the next step and work with us we have face to face courses scheduled in for the next couple of months and we are still running our Webinar version. Check them out here or get in touch to chat through your requirements!

We look forward to hearing from you!

Posted on: December 15, 2020