Our role is to instruct and guide you through the CAA approval process

Dragon Drone Training’s background, is from Dragon Helicopters, which provided theoretical knowledge and flight training for both private and commercial helicopter pilots. We also  provided helicopter filming platforms for a number of companies including the BBC, ITV, Channel 4, Sky and numerous production companies.

Along with the three founders of Dragon Drone Training our instructors and your support staff have accumulated vast experience and thousands of flight and instructional hours on helicopters and hundreds of drone flight hours with both military and civilian experience.

We are the first CAA approved NQE(5371) and RAE (5371) in Scotland.

We are also the first in the UK to be approved to conduct where necessary, flight training within the Oriam Centre building, However, under the new EU regulations the actual flight skill test has to be conducted outside at our training area Edinburgh Drone Port.

Our role is to provide instruction and guide you through the CAA approval process, as you join the aviation industry, flying ‘side by side’ with other aviators.

As part of the GVC course we include the A2 C of C.

 
 

The Civil Aviation Authority – CAA

Aviation law as defined in the Air Navigation Order (ANO) states that it is illegal to operate any drone in the 4 nation’s airspace without a Flyer ID and flying in what is define as a congested area requires a minimum of an A2 C of C depending on the takeoff mass (weight) of the UAS. However, having said that, many local authorities require a GVC along with its risk assessment and higher qualification to operate in their city’s airspace, as it’s a congested area.

A congested area is referred to as ‘any area of a city, town or settlement which is substantially used for residential, industrial, commercial or recreational purposes.’ This covers housing estates, retail parks, theme parks, shopping centres, city centres and public parks. So, only having an A2 CofC may not be sufficient.

CAA and EASA Background

The four nations that make up the United Kingdom, facilitated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), have adopt the European Union Unmanned Aircraft Systems Regulations in order to harmonise standards, law and procedures across Europe. This is part of the ongoing harmonisation process and brings UAS operations into line with those of commercial and general aviation.

It has taken many years of consultation across the previously 28 member states to reach this point. The CAA will rollout these new regulations from 31st December 2020  with a two-year transition period across all the member states.

Prior to this, all ‘member states’ individual aviation authorities had their own local approach to UAS regulations enshrined in their air law, which varied widely and with a number of inconsistencies

The three new categories of operations have been introduced relating to risk:

Open Category: 

Low-risk operations will not require any authorisation, but will be subject to strict operational limitations.

Specific Category: 

For medium-risk operations, operators will have to require an authorisation from the national aviation authority in our case the CAA on the basis of a standardised risk assessment or a specific scenario.

Certified Category: 

In case of high-risk operations, similar to manned aviation and is not covered on our course.

In order to permit UAS commercial operations in proximity to the general public, the CAA used a permission-based system called ‘Permission for Commercial Operations’ (PfCO). This is replaced by the General Visual Line of Sight Certificate (GVC), which unsurprisingly is very similar.

The A2 C of C (A2 Certificate of Competency) is a new drone qualification which is mainly aimed at hobbyist, recreational flying and YouTubers and operates in the Open Category: 

Low-risk operations (congested areas are not, by their nature low risk areas) and will not require CAA authorisation, or a risk assessments or even a flight skill test but will require a CAA theoretical knowledge exam

The GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) requires operational authorisation from the CAA and is aimed at the profession pilot and operates in the Specific Category:

Medium-risk operations, operators will require an authorisation (GVC) from the CAA on the basis of a standardised risk assessment or a specific scenario written into an operation manual.

This is ideal for congested area operation approval and requires a theoretical knowledge exam and a flight skill test.

We teach the GVC CAA EASA syllabus and combine both the GVC and the A2 CofC as there are some advantages of using a smaller UAS machines within the risk based assessments of the GVC..