We’ve Renewed Our Drone Operator Licence (PfCO)

Written by: Mike Lister

November 9, 2019

Drone Operators in Plymouth

Hey there, Mike here from MLP, it’s been 11 months and it’s time to renew our drone licence with the Civil Aviation Authority and renew out operations manuals and insurances.  

Renewing your drone licence isn’t cheap, every year you need to renew your permission for commercial operations (PfCO) with the CAA which currently stands at £190 (£253 first application).  

To obtain your PfCO you need to have insurance, and the insurance must be in the name of the applicant, not just the name of the pilot (unless the pilot is the applicant) or the trading name.  I.E.  for companies, the insurance must include the full name of the company including Ltd / Limited / PLC as appropriate. Insurance must be EC Regulation 785/2004 compliant. 

Why renew our PfCO?

Over the last year, I have seen a few forums discussing Drone insurance to protect you and your drone, as well as any damage caused by your drone, should it malfunction. I’ve seen a few insurance brokers drop drone insurance as a policy that they offer limiting the variety of brokers available.  

We use Cover Drone for our drone insurance; they were recommended to us by our training instructors and have had no issues with them. Drone Insurance was £308 for our renewal, so the financial cost was just under £500 per year. This fee, coupled with the inability to fly all year round due to the poor weather gives us a very small window to get out and capture everything.  


We also needed to update our Operations Manual Volume 1 as a few of the legalisation had changed over the year within the Air Navigation Order. Updating the manual took a few hours to sit down and go through the manual and make sure that everything was relevant and updated.  

Every Renewal you need to submit your flight log and your Operations Manuals for inspections to confirm they are up to date to show that you are aware of the changes for flying drones.  

Final Thoughts

Drone registration has also come in to effect as of the 5th November 2019, all drones over 250g now need to be registered with the CAA and display an OperatorID on the drone and provide this information if asked by the police. This should help with the negative press for drones as there is more accountability for operators. 

Drone work is still in its infancy within the South West, but we see the use of drones used more and more and love what we can do with drones to get some unique photo perspectives that you can’t achieve any other way.  

Currently, most of our drone work is done in the commercial space with property surveys after heavy storms and promotional videos for hotels and events. 

This year we also took on a new drone operator, and we’d like to welcome Martyn into Mike Lister Photography to help us capture even more moments. We will be upgrading our drones later in 2020 when the Mavic 3 is released, currently rumoured for January 2020. 

Fingers crossed someone from DJI see’s this and decides to send me a Mavic 3 to test out the capabilities of the drone.  

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