Pilot Qualifications required to operate Unmanned Aircraft
At the present time there are no RPA pilot licenses recognised in aviation law. However, it is essential that pilots of any aircraft have at least a basic understanding of the applicable regulations, in particular the Air Navigation Order and Rules of the Air Regulations. Therefore, the CAA will require a potential RPA operator to demonstrate pilot competence before any operating permission is issued.
There are a variety of means of demonstrating pilot competence, the most common being to complete a course where the applicant demonstrates the necessary skills and knowledge by passing a ground exam and flight test. The CAA does not run these courses directly but instead approves commercial National Qualified Entities (NQEs) to conduct the training and assessment on the CAA’s behalf.
As of 12 February 2015 there are four NQEs that have CAA approval: