CAA rules for pilot competency of Small Unmanned Aircraft

Bristol, UK – May 7 2015.  Plane

The CAA has released changes in regulations to demonstrate pilot competency in order to gain Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW).

UAV operators who already hold an Existing Aviation Qualifications (including an EASA and UK National Fixed-Wing, Helicopter or Microlight license), will now be able to satisfy some of the critical elements of a Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA) NQE course, prior to gaining PFAW.

What does this mean for pilots that hold Existing Aviation Qualifications? They will now have the ability to gain PFAW by a shorter route option, where they will still be asked to demonstrate their competency through an Operations Manual Evaluation and Practical Assessment by an approved NQE.

Previously, all candidates wishing to gain PFAW had to attend a full NQE course with no ability to present alternative qualifications and experience for a fast-tracked option.

Due to these changes, RUSTA, an approved NQE by the CAA, has added a new option to its course list to include an Existing Aviation Qualification (EAQ) course. This course incurs a reduced rate for the candidate and allows them to join the RUSTA Phase One theory course at the start of day two. Candidates will receive Ops Manual Guidance and attend the Flight Planning Exercise on day two, sit the Theory Exam on day three, and then be required to submit their Ops Manual for evaluation and complete a Practical Assessment.

Sion Roberts, Head of Academy at RUSTA, observed, “It is great to see the CAA working with NQE’s to develop their requirements for gaining Permission for Aerial Work, as the industry evolves. This ensures all operators are safe, yet takes into account prior knowledge and experience.”

Regulations enforced by the CAA dictate that operators conducting aerial work for valuable gain require PFAW.

For more information on SUA, UAV and drone training courses please call RUSTA on 01454 643 100.


Image courtesy of arztsamu at