UAS A2CofC & GVC Drone Certification

Why it was important to obtain my A2 CofC & GVC Drone Certification

Anyone can buy and fly a UAS drone, but only some are flying according to the required safety and legal requirements, making it a minefield to find reliable and professional UAS services.

So, when I incorporated aerial drone photography and video into my services, I intended to assure clients that they were engaging with a reputable service provider. Plus a commitment to flying safely within the UK CAA (Civil Air Authority guidelines) and delivering the highest-standard aerial photography and video services. 

Do I need a license to fly a drone?

The legislation around UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems), or as most people refer it “Drone”, is regularly updated with several layers of rules and certification. It can appear on the surface as quite complicated. Still, at a fundamental level, the rules are based on where you fly, how close you are to other people, and the size and weight of the UAS – In short, it’s all about Risk to others.

At the very least, if you’re going to use a drone for commercial use, you must register for a Flyer ID and Operator ID and have the appropriate insurance (at least EC 785/2004 standard). Then, depending on different categories and classes, there are higher levels of drone certification that can be obtained.

Learn more on the official CAA website and the Drone Code.

The Next Levels

For your peace of mind and the ability to fly larger drones in specific circumstances not permitted at the primary level (open category), I decided to tackle the following levels of UAS drone certification to demonstrate my commitment to providing high-quality aerial imagery safely and legally. The A2 CofC and the GVC certification

A2 CofC (A2 Certificate of Competency)

The A2 CofC is a drone qualification for drone operators in the United Kingdom, introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to regulate the operation of drones in the Open Category, specifically for subcategories A2 and A3. The A2 CofC allows drone operators to conduct flights in more populated areas and closer to uninvolved people than the Basic category permits.

GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate)

The GVC  is a qualification for drone operators in the United Kingdom, introduced by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to regulate the operation of drones in the Specific Category. The Specific Category involves more complex and potentially higher-risk drone operations, such as flying drones over 25 kilograms or flying drones closer to people not involved in the operation.

Training & Exams - with Sky Revolutions

After researching and looking at various online options, I decided to work with Sky Revolutions Academy,  for a 2 day-intensive in-person course covering the written exams and practical flying assessment.

Drone Certification Course - Graham Baker Photography

The quality of the guidance and training surpassed my expectations, covering a lot of subjects, including –

  • CAA regulations – Aviation Law and Regulations
  • Safety and Risk Assessment Mitigation – Management systems, Emergency procedures
  • Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) Operations 
  • Meteorology – Interpreting weather reports, forecasts and the impact on drone flying
  • Principles of Flight – Drone aerodynamics, systems and components (battery management), performance and control
  • Operations and Procedures – Pre-flight, in-flight, and post-flight checklists, Crew management, Communication, log-keeping
  • Navigation and Air Traffic Management – Airspace classifications, Reading aeronautical charts and maps, Air traffic control procedures
  • Human Factors – Performance, safety decision-making etc
  • 2 x Written Exams 
  • Practical Flying guidance and assessment
  • Post-Course Guidance and Support.
  • And a lot more, too!

While there were many things to cover, it was run at a steady pace, with plenty of time to ask lots of questions. The result was that after 2 days, I’d passed both the A2 CofC and GVC written exams and the practical flying exam to receive my certification in both categories!  Thank you Sky Revolutions – Highly recommended!


While it’s not essential to have additional drone certifications, it does provide several advantages over aerial photographers who haven’t.

  • Greater Operational Flexibility: The GVC allows me to operate drones in the Specific Category. This means I can fly more complex and potentially higher-risk commercial drone operations. As well as the flexibility to apply for operational authorisation for even more advanced flying. This includes flying in locations that may not be accessible to those with lower-level certifications.
  • Commercial Opportunities: Many clients prefer or require drone operators to have certification above the flyer ID and operator ID.
  • Comprehensive Knowledge & Flying ability: GVC certification requires a deeper understanding of drone operations, aviation law, safety procedures, and complex operational scenarios. 

A2 CofC Drone Certifcation

Drone Certification A2 CofC

GVC Drone Certifcation

Drone Certification GVC - Graham Baker Photography

Advantages to hiring a UAS Remote Pilot with Drone Certification

Being an A2 CofC (Certificate of Competency) and GVC (General Visual Line of Sight Certificate) UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) remote pilot with Drone certification for photography provides you with several critical advantages over someone who doesn’t have drone certification:

  • Legal Compliance: A2 CofC and GVC certifications demonstrate I’ve undergone proper training and have the necessary knowledge to operate drones safely and legally within UK airspace. Flying drones commercially without adequate certification or insurance is illegal. 
  • Safety: I’ve received comprehensive training on flight safety, airspace regulations, emergency procedures, and risk assessment. Which ensures I can safely operate drones, minimizing the risk of accidents or injuries to people and property. Additionally, I’m trained to conduct pre-flight checks and maintain my drones properly, reducing the likelihood of equipment failures during flights. 
  • Quality Assurance: A2 CofC and GVC certifications signify proficiency in piloting drones and capturing high-quality aerial photography and video footage. You can expect professional-grade results from certified pilots, including stable footage, accurate framing, and smooth camera movements. 
  • Insurance Requirements: Many insurance policies for commercial drone operations require remote pilots to hold A2 CofC or GVC certifications. Hiring me ensures that your project is covered by insurance in case of accidents, property damage, or liability claims arising from drone operations. Coverage may be invalidated without proper certification, leaving you vulnerable to financial risks.
  • Reputation and Trust: Working with certified remote pilots enhances your credibility of using a certified and professional supplier. It demonstrates my commitment to compliance with regulations, safety standards, and industry best practices. You can reassure Your stakeholders, customers, and partners that my operations are conducted professionally and responsibly. 

Overall, though, in a competitive industry like photography and video content creation, having certification gives you the peace of mind that you’re working with someone who is not only committed to providing you with high-quality images but also a commitment to safety and professionalism when it comes to drone photography and video.

Would you like to learn more about hiring a drone certified remote pilot (photography & video) for your business?

Click here to book your no-obligation phone consultation with me

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