How Hard Is It To Become A Drone Pilot In UK

Is Getting A Drone Pilot Licence Hard UK? [2024 Update]

Navigating the complexities of drone regulations can feel like a labyrinth, yet understanding the requirements for a UK drone pilot licence is quite manageable.

It’s not as hard as you might think.

The difficulty varies depending on the type of licence you’re after – Flyer ID and Operator ID are fairly simple to get, while A2 CofC and GVC licences require more effort and understanding.

The time it takes to obtain these licences also varies.

Your journey into the world of drone piloting in the UK starts here. We’ll guide you through the specifics, making sure you’re well-equipped for your flight into the drone skies.

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Is drone pilot licence hard UK?

Despite the steps involved, getting a drone pilot licence in the UK isn’t as hard as you’d think, provided you’re ready to learn and adhere to the necessary procedures.

The training requirements for obtaining a licence involve understanding the basics of drone operations, passing a theory test, and a practical flight test.

It’s recommended you have at least 25 hours of drone flight experience before embarking on the application process.

The drone license application process is straightforward. You’ll need to submit an Operations Manual to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) for approval.

If you’re responsible for a drone, you’ll need to register as an Operator and get an Operator ID, which must be clearly displayed on your drone.

Understanding drone regulations is crucial in the process. You’ll need to pass a theory test, which mainly requires comprehension of the drone code.

Drone License TypeDifficulty Level
Flyer IDEasy
Operator IDEasy
A2 CofCMedium

It’s not considered difficult but requires substantial knowledge on drone operations and safety regulations.

The benefits of obtaining a drone pilot license are many, including the ability to operate drones legally and professionally.

It opens up opportunities for drone photography, videography, and other commercial uses.

Common mistakes to avoid during the licensing process include not studying the drone code thoroughly, not gaining enough flight experience before applying, and not properly formatting your Operations Manual.

It’s also crucial to stay updated with the latest drone laws and regulations.

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Flyer ID & Operator ID – Easy Difficulty

Obtaining your Flyer ID and Operator ID, key components of drone piloting in the UK, isn’t a tough hill to climb if you’re well-prepared and understand the process.

Comprehending drone safety regulations is a fundamental step towards securing these IDs.

Your Flyer ID is proof that you grasp the basics of drone flying techniques and safety rules. The test for this ID, administered by the Civil Aviation Authority, is straightforward and doesn’t aim to trip you up.

It’s free, renewable every five years, and it firmly establishes the benefits of obtaining a Flyer ID.

The Operator ID, akin to a license plate for your drone, signifies responsible drone ownership. If your drone weighs more than 250g or carries a camera, you need this ID.

Securing the Operator ID involves providing personal details and paying a small fee to the UK Civil Aviation Authority. This ID is valid for one year and requires annual renewal.

Both of these processes are simple and clear-cut, designed to promote safe and responsible drone use.

However, there are common mistakes to avoid while flying a drone, such as not adhering to the drone code or forgetting to renew your IDs.

Also, remember to label all your drones with your Operator ID.

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A2 Cofc Drone Licence – Medium Difficulty

Moving on to the A2 CofC drone licence, you’ll find it’s a bit more challenging than getting your Flyer ID and Operator ID, but it’s certainly manageable with proper preparation and practice.

This certificate lets you operate drones weighing between 250g and 2kg near people who aren’t involved in the drone operations, a unique aspect of drone regulations UK.

Obtaining the A2 CofC involves drone pilot training, which covers a range of topics including basic principles of flight, congested area operations, collision avoidance, battery safety, and weather factors.

This knowledge is tested in a formal, invigilated theory exam consisting of 30 multiple-choice questions, with a pass mark of 75%.

In addition to the theory exam, the A2 CofC also requires a period of self-monitored practical flight training.

This training is where you get to put your drone flying skills to the test, either before or after the theory course.

Incorporating this practical aspect into your preparation can significantly enhance your confidence and competence for the exam.

The difficulty of securing an A2 CofC drone licence can be subjective, depending on your prior knowledge and experience with drones.

However, with a structured approach to theory exam preparation, and dedicated practice of your drone flying skills, you should be well-equipped to pass.

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GVC Drone Licence – Hardest Difficulty

If you’re aiming for the GVC drone licence, you’re tackling the most challenging drone pilot qualification in the UK.

This qualification is mainly for commercial drone applications or flying heavier drones within specific drone regulations.

The GVC licence requires a solid understanding of drone technology and a firm grasp of flight safety principles.

It’s not just about knowing how to maneuver a drone; it’s about understanding the underlying principles of flight, comprehending the implications of weather factors, and knowing how to operate in congested areas.

You’ll need to complete a theory course covering these topics and more.

This course is designed to be accessible yet thorough, immersing you in the essential knowledge needed for safe and effective drone operations.

After the course, you’ll face a formal invigilated theory exam with 60 multiple-choice questions. Scoring at least 75% is necessary to pass.

But the challenge doesn’t end there.

You also need to complete a period of self-monitored practical drone pilot training either before or after the theory course.

This practical training allows you to apply the theoretical knowledge you’ve gained, enhancing your skills and confidence in drone piloting.

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How long does it typically take to obtain a drone license in the UK?

The exact time it takes you to obtain a drone license in the UK can vary, but let’s break it down into the typical timeframes for each component.

Firstly, you’ll need to acquire both a Flyer ID and an Operator ID. The Flyer ID can be obtained by passing an online test, which usually takes around 30 minutes.

The Operator ID can be obtained by registering with the Civil Aviation Authority and is valid for one year.

Next up are the A2 Certificate of Competency (A2 CofC) and the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC).

Training requirements for the A2 CofC can be completed remotely through online modules, with the duration being dependent on your pace and experience.

Also, a period of self-guided practical flight experience is necessary.

The GVC course includes over 9 hours of video-based e-learning, followed by a flight assessment that must be completed within 12 months.

The last part of the GVC focuses on the Operations Manual, usually delivered within 5 working days.

Factoring in the cost of obtaining a drone license, it’s essential to remember the renewal process.

Your Operator ID must be renewed annually, while the Flyer ID, A2 CofC, and GVC are valid for five years.

Understanding the importance of drone regulations is critical for the safety and legality of your operations. These regulations ensure you’re flying responsibly, respecting the rights of others, and minimizing potential risks.

It’s a complex process, but with adequate preparation and dedication, you can obtain your UK drone license successfully.


In conclusion, obtaining a drone pilot licence in the UK isn’t a walk in the park, but it’s not impossible either.

The Flyer ID & Operator ID is relatively easy, while the A2 Cofc and GVC licences require more effort.

Typically, it takes a few weeks to a couple of months to get licensed, depending on your dedication and commitment.

But remember, mastering drone flying is a journey, not a destination. So, keep practising and learning!

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