Training Services

ATEC-3D Logo with the word training underneath, to advertise our UAV Training Courses.

We have a training course to suit your needs!

Many people fly their drones competently and safely as a hobbyist and we have courses that can help you reach that stage. For those who wish to operate their UAV commercially, we have our PfCO course (Permission for Commercial Operations), which is what you require to fulfil the CAA regulations on commercial work.

There are many people who ask for clarification on what is meant as ‘commercial operations’, the wording from Article 7 of CAP722 as amended by CAP 1687 is as follows:

Meaning of ‘commercial operation’

For the purposes of this Order, “commercial operation” means any flight by a small
unmanned aircraft except a flight for public transport, or any operation of any other aircraft
except an operation for public transport –

(a) which is available to the public; or
(b) which, when not made available to be public –

(i) in the case of a flight by a small unmanned aircraft, is performed under a contract
between an operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the remote pilot; or
(ii) in any other case, is performed under a contract between an operator and a
customer, where the latter has no control over the operator,
in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration.

This means that if you perform a flight for a customer for money or other valuable consideration that will be considered a ‘commercial operation‘ and will require a permission from the CAA, ie a PfCO. Don’t forget that ‘valuable consideration‘ would include goods or services in exchange for your work, for example, a free meal for an aerial photo of a country pub! The CAA are also getting quite wise to the tricks that people used to use, such as saying they flew for free but charged for printing or editing!

The route to a CAA PfCO

The rules governing who is allowed to fly a UAV for commercial purposes are laid out in the Civil Aircraft Publication (CAP)722 6th Edition 24 March 2015 and the Air Navigation (Amendment) Order 2018 CAP 1687, these are papers published by the CAA which form the basis of air law.

For a UAS of under 7Kg (ie most DJI drones) you need an NQE competency assessment which must consist of the following:

  • Adequate theoretical knowledge/ general airmanship.
  • Successful completion of a practical flight assessment on the class of SUA that is being applied for.
  • A minimum amount of recent flying experience on the class of SUA that is being applied for.
  • Submission to the CAA of a personalised Operations Manual which outlines the operator’s systems and procedures.

ATEC-3D Logo with the word training underneath, to advertise our UAV Training Courses.

Our PfCO course

  • 4 Days Classroom-based Ground School covering Air law, Airspace principles, Airmanship and Safety, Human factors, Meteorology, Charts, Aircraft knowledge and Operating Procedures.
  • 1 Day of written exam (a mixture of multiple choice and written answers) and flight assessment. The flight assessment can be taken at a later date if your ops manual is not yet complete or the weather is an issue. Once this is complete we will issue you with our Full NQE recommendation to the CAA.
  • We will then be available to guide you through the process of you applying for your permission.

Notes on the PfCO course

  • We recommend that before starting your course you make yourself comfortable with flying your chosen craft. If you do not yet have one you can join one of our beginner classes and we can teach you with a loan drone from basic principles, or feel free to speak to us for impartial advice on which drone would match your needs best. Our recommendation is that two hours of flight time in the last three months is a good level, and its good to get used to maintaining a log of each of your flights as it will be part of your operations manual.
  • We generally hold our courses once a month or more and keep class sizes down to around 8 people as we like to keep the personal touch.
  • Our Ground School training is held in our ops office training room in Folkestone, Kent, we can also travel to the training rooms of corporate clients to simplify their logistics, please contact us to discuss.
  • Our flight training and assessment field is in Hawkinge, Kent. We believe that the only way we can fully assess your competence is by testing you in a real-world situation and therefore do not offer an indoor flight test.
  • Our competency assessment will be based on your Operations Manual, so you will have to have at least the bare bones of it ready for when we do your flight test. Download CAP 722 and you will find the template for an operations manual with standard permissions. We are strongly of the belief, and have been told this directly by the CAA, that each manual must be the work of the operator themselves. That said, some pilots have asked for our assistance with their submission and it is a service we may be able to offer.
  • Our instructors are commercial UAV pilots when not conducting a course, feel free to contact us to ask any questions you may have.

UAV Training Courses

To enquire about these courses or to ask any questions related to training, please fill in the form beneath the summaries.


Ideal for you if you are completely new to drones and want some guidance to help you fly it safely. Includes using the basic controls, flight training exercise cards,  safety tips, choosing a safe place to fly, advice on helpful apps and a copy of the drone code

Cost: £40 Inc VAT     Duration: 2 Hours


This is a good choice if you have a drone equipped with a camera, as well as the above we will give you advice and instruction on how to fly in the different modes of your craft and when to use them. We can help you choose the setting that will give you the best images for your drone and show you how to keep everything updated. We will also have a classroom session on the rules and laws covering the use of drones in the UK with a short test to check your understanding.

Cost: £150 Inc VAT     Duration: 1 and a half days

PfCO Courses

Options are available to suit those with or without previous qualifications and to split the ground school and flight assessments if required.

 Ground School only:

This is the ‘theoretical’ part of the PfCO course and consists of two modules, each taking 2 days.

  • Module 1 covers Air Law including all the new legislation as it comes in, Airspace Operating Principles and Airmanship and Aviation Safety.
  • Module 2 covers Human Factors, Meteorology, Charts, Aircraft Knowledge and Operating Procedures.

You will be issued with a workbook to use for revision and note-taking, the study of this will assist you in your written examination.

Cost:£850 Inc VAT    Duration: 4 Days study, 1 Day workbook review and Exam   

Flight assessment only: 

We will spend a day giving you your flight assessment to meet the requirements of the PfCO and in accordance with your Operations Manual. However this will only be available to you if you have completed units 1 & 2 of the ground school with ATEC-3D. This option allows you to spread the cost by attending the ground school and flight assessments separately.

Cost:£350 Inc VAT   Duration: 1 Day

Ground School and flight assessments:

The full PfCO including the above Ground School plus your flight assessment. Please note that the flight assessment may be held at a different time to your ground school due to availability, the readiness of your Operations Manual or weather conditions. We are happy to make an examiner available outside of business hours to accommodate this on request.

Cost: £1200 Inc VAT   Duration: 5 Days (+1 day Flight Assessment) 

Extra flight assessments where necessary

We always give our students two attempts at their flight assessment on the day unless they fail to meet safety or operational standards. If a further test is required to complete their assessment it can be provided.

Cost £120 Inc VAT   Duration: 1/2 a Day

PPL students that require a flight test and recommendation to the CAA:

For this, we will give you a flight test and go over all of your documentation to help speed up your CAA application process.

Cost:£400 Inc VAT   Duration 2 Days (1 day desk study & 1 day flight test)

Yearly flight re-assessments and re-submissions to the CAA:

Your PfCO will need an annual update to ensure you are compliant with any changes in legislation and that you have kept up your flying skills. We will give you two flight assessments and go over your documents to advise any changes in your ops manual you may need to make.

Cost:£200 Inc VAT    Duration: 1 Day 

Please feel free to use the contact form below for any queries you may have or to enquire about availability of courses.

ATEC-3D Logo with the word training underneath, to advertise our UAV Training Courses.

Contact Form

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