We understand that for UAV, drone or SUAS operators, deciding to take the next step to gain your Permission For Commercial Operation from the CAA can be quite an overwhelming exercise. At RUSTA we ensure that when candidates leave our theory course they go away prepared and clearly understand all requirements. If you do have any questions regarding our course or gaining your Permission For Commercial Operation (PfCO) that are not answered below, we honestly enjoy answering your questions. Contact our friendly team.

What is Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO)?

Permission for Commercial Operation is a CAA requirement if you wish to fly Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) on a commercial basis (conducting ‘aerial work’ for payment or valuable consideration), or fly a camera/surveillance fitted aircraft within congested areas or close to people and properties that are not under your control.

What do I have to do before I can apply for PfCO?

Remote Unmanned Systems Training Academy (RUSTA) is recognised by the CAA as a National Qualified Entity (NQE). This allows RUSTA to deliver courses that train and assess candidates on their overall airmanship skills, knowledge and operating capabilities.

To apply for PfCO, candidates are required to complete RUSTA’s Remote Pilot Certificate SUAS (RPCS) course successfully.

How do I apply to the CAA for my PfCO?

After completion of the RUSTA RPCS course, applications for PfCO are made directly to the CAA by returning the completed SRG1320 form at least 28 days before any operations are due to commence. The current CAA administration costs are per UAV, drone or SUAS type and include:

  • Mass of <7kg = £112
  • Mass of 7-20kg = £224

Further pricing and information can be found at www.caa.co.uk.

How long will it take me to gain my PfCO?

RUSTA prides itself on its efficiency to get candidates through the course. It is best to allow 1-2 months from the very start of RUSTA’s Remote Pilot Certificate SUAS course to completing your Practical Assessment. We endeavour to get candidates through the process as quickly as possible, and if there is an opportunity to complete the Practical Assessment sooner then we will, without doubt, schedule it in. Please remember that the time taken is dependent on the candidate’s Ops Manual Assessment and weather conditions. Please give us a call if you require your PfCO urgently.

How much does it cost?

RUSTA’s RPCS for UAV, drone or SUAS operators with an unmanned aircraft below 20kg, costs £995 excl. VAT for the full course. There are no hidden costs.

What if I have more than one SUAS aircraft?

This does not matter. RUSTA does not charge per aircraft, but per student taking the course.

I have a multirotor AND a fixed wing aircraft. Will I be charged extra to complete the RUSTA course?

No. As we are such nice folk we will allow you to complete both Practical Assessments (one for your multirotor and one for your fixed wing), at no extra cost. These will have to be completed on the same day.

I have already completed an equivalent to RUSTA’s theory component (RPCT) with another training provider. Will I need to complete this again?

No. If you have completed an equivalent to RUSTA’s theory course, to gain the full RPCS to obtain your PfCO you will only need to complete Phase Two of the course which includes:

  • Operations Manual Evaluation
  • Practical Assessment

RUSTA also offers these candidates Operations Manual guidance and the ability to take part in the Flight Planning Exercise on day two of a theory course (highly recommended).

What if I fail the theory exam?

RUSTA allows candidates one free re-sit (at the next available RPCT course) if the RPCT exam is not passed on first attempt. 10 working days have to elapse before a re-sit can be taken.

What if my Ops Manual requires re-evaluation?

RUSTA’s Ops Manual experts will guide you in the right direction from day one of the RPCS course. If the submitted Ops Manual requires rework, we will provide a free re-evaluation to each candidate.

Does RUSTA offer bespoke courses to teams, organisations or companies?

Of course we do! If you have a team of eight or more candidates wishing to obtain PfCO, RUSTA can come to your premises and hold onsite training. Please contact the RUSTA team for more information.


Find out more about our drone, UAV and SUAS training course or book a course today.