New Regulations: PfCO Course Replaced by GVC Course


“Permission for Commercial Operations” (PfCO Course) was the previous authorisation required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for commercial operations. In accordance with the new European UAS regulations that came into effect in November 2020, the PfCO has now been replaced by the “Operational Authorisation” which can be obtained by completing a GVC Course.

HALO Drones is a fully approved Recognised Assessment Entity (RAE), formally known as an NQE, with the CAA which allows us to provide training and assessments in order to issue you with your certificate which enables you to apply for an Operational Authorisation.

Please refer to our new GVC Course (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate)



£252 Inc. VAT
  • Entry level product which is ideal if you want to learn in your own time with minimal expense.

  • Everything you need to get your GVC theory certificate to operate in the Specific category with an Operational Authorisation:

  • On demand
  • Self directed learning
  • Online theory exam
  • In person flight assessment at one of our sites
  • GVC certificate on completion


£570 Inc. VAT
  • Ideal if you want instructor led learning to help consolidate your understanding. 2 days remote online instruction with a professional drone pilot.

  • Everything you need to get your GVC theory certificate to operate in the Specific category with an Operational Authorisation:

  • Live remote online learning with engaging tasks and activities
  • Instructor directed 2 day ground school
  • Online theory exam
  • In person flight assessment at one of our sites
  • GVC & A2 CofC certificate on completion
GVC drone pilot

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Not sure which pfco course is right for you? Speak to our experts and we’ll help to guide you through the process

The most comprehensive PfCO Course available

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No more death by PowerPoint

HALO Drones is the only CAA approved drone training school to use Practical and Scenario based training methods as the foundations of our course design. These keep you engaged and put content into context, making it relevant, understandable and memorable.

GVC drone training price

100% Extra Value

Rather than giving you content to remember, our training methods help you develop skills that will allow you to apply your knowledge on the job so that you can present yourself with confidence and competence in front of your clients, helping you win work and separate yourself from your competitors. 

GVC course online

Drone-specific expert instructors

Our instructors are all current commercial drone pilots. Combined, they have thousands of logged hours of operational experience for your learning benefit. They have also successfully taught over 1,000 commercial drone operators within the UK.

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Maximum class sizes

We do not operate as a meat factory and minimize the number of attendees to no more than 10. This ensures substantial contact time between you and your and instructor, to ensure you have the attention they need and a chance to ask important questions.


Course Locations

A revolutionary approach to PfCO drone training

We believe learning should be fun! We have used our expertise and experience to redesign the concept of what is considered a normal course. We have incorporated modern adult learning and assessment methodologies which will accelerate your learning, so that you are better prepared for the competitive and challenging world of commercial drones.

We have given a lot of consideration to the logistics of our course and ensure it represents good value for money. This means we provide a lot of learning hours with minimal contact time ensuring expenses are minimised, and people can fit the course into their busy lives.

There really isn’t another course like HALO’s PfCO Course.

GVC drone pilot

What’s included in the PfCO course?

  • All reference materials, workbooks & handouts
  • 2-day ground school on the comprehensive course option (Remote and Face to Face options now available)
  • All day refreshments and lunch both days (Face to Face)
  • Guidance on how to complete your Operations manual and 3 reviews
  • Theory exam & flight assessment
  • Certificate
  • Support from the HALO instructors
  • Access to our exclusive Facebook group for HALO alumni

HALO PFCO Course Brochure

Find out more about our PFCO course and how it can help you in your journey to becoming a professional drone pilot.

© Ben Phillips

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Course Details

  • Who should attend this course?

    Whether you intend to progress your hobby, become a pilot for an existing drone company, start a new business or add drones to your existing one, this course has been specifically designed for people looking to fly drones for commercial purposes.

    This is the higher level of training for professional drone pilots and is aimed at beginners who either have little or no prior experience with drones. Therefore, there is no requirement for any pre-existing knowledge or qualifications.

  • Course Objectives

    To provide sufficient knowledge to pass theory and flight assessments. To provide a framework for operations through scenario based experiential teaching and the development of the operations manual template. To teach you to be self-sufficient (learn how to find the information rather than memorise it).

  • Course Outcomes

    Once you have submitted an approved operations manual and are successful in passing both the theory and flight assessments, you will receive a Recommendation for a PfCO Certificate. This can be used in the application for a Permission for Commercial Operations or allow you to operate for another drone operator.

  • Course Content

    The following areas of knowledge will be covered: Airmanship Air Law Airspace Meteorology Human Factors Aircraft Knowledge This syllabus is mandated by the CAA for all NQE’s. By the end of this course you will understand and be able to apply the knowledge required to make you a competent and safe drone pilot.

  • Course Prerequisites

    No prior knowledge or experience is required prior to booking onto this course, although if you do have experience it will be beneficial. The minimum age for attendance is 16 for pilots flying for a company with an existing PFCO. The minimum age for applying for a PfCO is 18 years of age. The drone that you conduct your flight assessment with must be the one that you are looking to apply for an PfCO is with (Multirotor or Fixed wing).

    You will be required to bring a laptop that is reliable and fast and be competent at using it. Anything less will compromise your experience and ability to learn which can impact on others in the classroom.

    We recommend a minimum of 10 hours practice flying prior to booking a flight assessment, and our additional practical flight training options can help save a lot of time and money along the learning and development process.

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Why train with HALO?

Learn more about HALO Drones and why you should train with us

Course Structure

  • Stage 1: Distance Learning

    First you will learn the knowledge needed to operate drones with help of our unique interactive course handbook. This is full of quick quizzes, tops tips, anecdotes and illustrations to help make the information relevant and bring it alive so thats its an informative and enjoyable read. If you have a drone and feel confident to fly it, then any flying experience will help put things into context.

  • Stage 2: Ground School

    The 2-day ground face to face school focuses on consolidating your understanding of the knowledge you have gained when reading the handbook by guiding you through the workflow process for delivering a real world scenario over the course of the two days. This puts the knowledge you’ve learnt into context and makes you familiar with what to expect in preparation for your first job.

    Face to Face Ground School

    The face to face ground school includes various activities, group sessions, discussions and even a word search. There is no exam which means there is more time for learning and less time for worrying. This is in contrast to most other training schools which simply repeat the information provided in the course handbook in a series of powerpoint slides.

    The workflow is as follows: 1. Task Review 2. Risk Assessment 3. Method Statement 4. Pre Deployment 5. On Site 6. Flying 7. Post Flight 8. Emergencies 9. Operational Procedures.

    In addition, the start time on the first day allows candidates to travel in on the morning of the course, therefore requiring only one night of accommodation if staying away from home.

    Remote Ground School

    The remote ground school includes all of the same engaging activities as the face to face ground school, however it is facilitated using Zoom video conferencing software. This has proved to be a very popular course, in response to the UK lockdown.

    Self-directed Ground School

    The self-directed ground school is for those want to learn at their own pace. As such, there is no interactive learning delivered by our instructors. Instead, you’ll receive our ground school handbook which you can learn from in your own time. This will provide you will all of the necessary knowledge required to get you ready for your theory exam.


  • Stage 3: Operations Manual Development

    Once the ground school is complete the candidate will need to prepare for their assessment day. The flight assessment must be completed in accordance with an approved operations manual that is specific to your organisation. This requires you to write one and we’ve taken yet another innovative and unique approach to integrating this into our course. Rather than simply giving you a completed template or one with little guidance to complete it, we’ve turned it into another learning tool to further help consolidate your knowledge and understanding.

  • Stage 4: Assessment Day

    Once the operations manual has been approved and the candidate feels prepared they can then book the assessment day. There are two assessments to be completed: 1. Theory Exam 2. Flight Assessment. 4 hours is allocated for both assessments which gives plenty of time.

  • Stage 5: Application to CAA for a Permission for Commercial Operations

    Upon successful completion of the two assessments, HALO Drones will provide a Recommendation for a PfCO Certificate and guidance on how to apply for a PfCO using the CAA online application form.

Halo meeting

Types of courses

Open Courses

These are great for individuals to book on to. You will share the room with people from all sorts of backgrounds which will inevitably stimulate networking and discussion.  We have set dates for all of our locations so please contact us to find availability.

Bespoke Courses

These are preferable for any company with multiple individuals looking for a private and bespoke course. We can come to your venue and tailor the course structure to suit your organisational needs. Prices vary depending on numbers, location and course structure.

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Please get in touch with our personable staff to discuss your requirements so that we can create a specific quote for your course.


  • What if I fail either of the assessments?

    If you fail any assessments, you will be allowed to re-sit subject to the following criteria:

    A mark within 25% of the pass mark – A resit is permitted after a minimum of 1 week. 

    A mark outside 25% of the pass mark – A resit is permitted after a minimum of 2 weeks. 

    You can complete a maximum of three attempts in either of the assessments, before having to attend another course. There is a charge, but before you worry about the cost implications of failing, we would like to reassure you that our course structure and training methodology has been designed to reduce the likelihood of this happening. We don’t want you to fail, and the charge is merely to cover our expenses.

  • What is not included on the course?

    Accommodation and the CAA’s application fee which is currently £257.00 (June 2020). Visit the CAA website for the latest information.

  • Do you help with the operations manual?

    Yes, as part of the PfCO course, you are required to submit an operations manual to the CAA and we will provide as much guidance as possible to ensure that you get this right.

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