What it's like to go through drone school in the UK

Small RPAS training in progress. Photo from Resource Group.

Small RPAS training in progress. Photo from Resource Group.

No two countries see eye-to-eye when it comes to regulating drones; and every country seems to have different guidelines for determining who can deploy drones.

In the United States, it increasingly looks like commercial drone pilots will need to have professional pilot's licenses, and all of the ground school and hours in manned aircraft that entails. As we recently reported, Canada may not even require an SFOC if you're flying drones that are small enough.

In the United Kingdom, the Civil Aviation Authority is in charge of granting permission to fly remotely piloted aircraft. And if you want to fly in the UK for commercial purposes, you'll need to pass a CAA-certified ground school.

Currently there are two companies providing this specialized training - EuroUSC and Resource Group. Matthew Cairns of HeliGuy recently went through Resource Group's RPQ-S (Remote Pilot Qualification - Small) training, and reported his experience:

As you can imagine, Air Law and Aviation Safety is heavily legislated so there is a lot to get through. Map reading and group tasks come as a welcome breather and there are plenty of tea breaks. The course does come with a fair amount of pre-course reading and it’s well advised to get this done well in advance.
— Matthew Cairns, HeliGuy

It's important to note that after going through ground school, you also have to demonstrate competency with your UAS by flying it in front of Resource Group's instructors.  More info on the RPQ program is on the company's website.

Posted on December 4, 2014 .