The UK drone industry is facing its biggest change in December 2020 with the implementation of new EU regulations for using UAS aircraft in the United Kingdom which is harmonised accross Europe.
The changes will remove the commercial operator in the UK and operations will be based on risk as apposed to commercial or recreational use.
What does that mean for PFCO holders, who have already proved competency with their aircraft?
To answer that the CAA developed a flow chart and given to NQE's RAE's which has been converted by Osprey Drone Training into a handy questionnaire below, which will hopefully give you the answers to your questions.
The following will require additional action / expense.
1: Take CofC test(Certificate of Competence Certificate).
2: Buy a C2 aircraft, take A2 CofC test.
3: Apply for Operational Authorisation.
4: Buy C1 aircraft, Take A2 CofC test.
5: Take A2 CofC test.
Open Category Classes
A1 (fly 'over' people) - Operations in subcategory A1 can only be conducted with unmanned aircraft that present a very low risk of harm or injury to other people due to their low weight (less than 250g), their type of construction, or because they are a 'toy1' (i.e. they are 'inherently harmless'). However, flight over open-air assemblies of people is not permitted.
A2 (Fly 'close to' people) - Operations in subcategory A2 can only be conducted with an unmanned aircraft that is compliant with a specific product standard (and a maximummass of less than 4kg), but this unmanned aircraft can be flown to a minimum safe horizontal distance of 30 metres from uninvolved people, or down to 5 metres horizontally when its 'low speed mode' is selected. In addition, the remote pilot must have successfully completed an additional competency examination in order to operate in this subcategory.
A3 (Fly 'far from' people) - This category covers the more general types of unmanned aircraft operations. The intent is that the unmanned aircraft will only be flown in areas that are clear of uninvolved persons and will not be flown in areas that are used for residential, commercial, industrial or recreational purposes (roughly equivalent to what is currently referred to as a 'congested area').