The first CAA A2 Certificate of Competency Courses are now becoming available in the UK, with UAVHUB officially becoming the UK's first CAA RAE (Recognised Assessment Entity).
But, what is the A2 C of C? Is it any use and what will it allow you to do, which you won't be able to do without it?
Read on to find out more, or watch the video below for an explanation! :)
One of the changes to the UK Drone Regulations which comes into effect on the 1st July 2020, is the introduction of the 'Open Category'.
This new category allows people to fly drones up to 25Kg in weight without the need for any qualifications or permissions. The only thing that the drone operator needs to do if they want to fly in the open category is to ensure that they have completed the Drone Registration scheme (if required) and that they stick to the drone code...
The Open Category is going to herald a big change for the drone community in the UK and will open up the opportunities for people to exploit drone technology. The only major caveat surrounding operating in the open category is that the drone operator needs to ensure that they remain 150 metres or more away from built-up areas and 50 metres away from uninvolved persons at all times.
If you want to get closer to uninvolved people and yet remain in the open category (i.e. the flying you're doing is low-risk, with small, light drones), then the new A2 Certificate of Competency allows you to do this.
The CAA A2 CofC allows you to prove that you are competent to the CAA but still doesn't require much regulatory oversight (like the current PfCO system and soon to be GVC require).
To get the CAA A2 Certificate of Competency, you need to prove your competency to a Recognised Assessment Entity, who can then issue you with your A2 C of C, on behalf of the UK CAA.
To get your CAA A2 CofC, you'll need to complete the following steps:
Once you've completed this process, you'll be issued with your A2 Certificate of Competency by the RAE and you'll then be able to exercise the advantages of the certificate when you fly (after the 1st July 2020).
The A2 CofC will allow people to operate in the A2 Subcategory of the Open Category. If you are flying a 'C2 CE Certified Drone', then you can fly down to 30 metres of uninvolved persons in the 'normal speed' mode and down to just 5 metres of uninvolved persons in a 'low-speed' mode - rather than the 50 metres that is usually associated with the Open Category.
It's worth noting that none of these C2 CE Certified drones exist, yet.
The other thing that holding an A2 C of C allow for is drone flights under the 'Transitional Provisions'; which means you could fly a drone like a Mavic 2 Pro down to 50 metres of uninvolved persons, until 1st July 2022 (at which point you'll either have to operate it in the A3 subcategory of the Open Category - 150 metres from built-up areas and 50 metres from uninvolved people, or get a GVC).
The A2 CofC certificate itself is valid for 5 years. When it expires, you'll need to attend a refresher course with a CAA RAE.
No. There is currently no requirement to apply to the CAA annually, to exercise your privileges as an A2 C of C holder.
The A2 C of C is going to be an awesome qualification for people to hold, particularly when the drone manufacturers begin to release C2 certified drones... In the interim, the fact that it allows drone pilots to fly down to pretty much the same separation distances as a current PfCO holder, is pretty special. Especially when you consider that the A2 Certificate of Competency courses that we're seeing come onto the market now are in the region of just £249!
If you have any questions about the new A2 CofC or want to know more about how the changes to the UK CAA Drone Regulations may affect you; just drop us a line on 0800 033 4400 or send an email to us at: firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll be happy to help out!
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