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Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service (updated)

Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service (updated)

Charlotte Gareppo
Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service (updated)

Drone and Model Aircraft Registration and Education Service

The registration process is now open for everyone to register online and complete the online test provided by the CAA. Please note you do not need to complete the test straight away if you have recently completed a PfCO course. There are other exceptions which can be found here

We’ve prepared some instructions on how you can stay legal and safe alongside the CAA regulations. 

Firstly, you must demonstrate you can ‘fly safely’. If you fly a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg you will need to pass the CAA online education package every three years before you can register.

What's included in the weight?

The battery in a drone is not the fuel so it is included in the overall weight.
If you have a liquid fuel powered drone, the fuel is not included in this weight.

PfCO exemption? (CAA clarity) 

The CAA* have confirmed that:

If you hold a current Pfco you are exempt from taking the remote pilot competency test. All current Pfco holders will receive the exemption within the next 2 weeks [between 5/11/2019 - 30/11/2019]. 

Their contact details are at the bottom of this page if you'd like to enquire further. 

Preparing for your theory

The CAA recommends you prepare for the theory test by viewing the drone and model aircraft code. There are five sections within the drone and model aircraft code that cover 27 points from the CAA. Understanding these sections will ensure passing the theory test. The sections of the drone and model aircraft code are: 

Types of aircraft affected

The CAA has specified all aircraft that are covered by this code. They are:

  • Model aeroplanes
  • Model gliders
  • Model helicopters
  • Drones

Note - in law, these four types are grouped together under the heading 'Small Unmanned Aircraft".

Secondly, if you operate a drone or unmanned aircraft (including model aircraft) weighing between 250g and 20kg you will need to register as an operator. You must register your drone with the CAA. This will cost you £9 annually and you can do this here.

You have until the 30th November 2019 to do this and must pass the theory test first before obtaining a flyer ID or operator ID. 

A flyer ID is a person who flies the drone or model aircraft. You’ll need to pass an online theory test to get your flyer ID

An operator ID is a person responsible for making sure that anyone using their drone or model aircraft has a valid flyer ID. The operator must label their drone with an operator ID. The operator must be over the age of 18. Please note to get an operator ID you will need to complete the theory test.


Here are the costings directly from the CAA website:

How you use drones or model aircraft

ID numbers needed


You both fly and are responsible for them

flyer ID and operator ID


You just fly other people's

flyer ID


You’re only responsible and do not fly

operator ID


Do you already have a PfCO?

If you have a PfCO you will not need to take the test until the CAA regulations change in June 2020. We will clarify this once the CAA has announced the changes.

You will still need to obtain an Operator ID but to allow operators with permission to demonstrate competence if challenged (for example by the police) the CAA will be issuing a formal exemption that can be used alongside existing permissions/achievements and any other relevant documents. If you’d like to know more about our PfCO course, learn more here. 


The British Model Flying Association has provided an updated article to help identify further guidelines and support if you hold a BMFA. 

Lost or found a drone?

The CAA has also introduced a Drones Reunited service as part of the registration. It’s a new platform set up to help recover thousands of drones lost in the UK each year. Access to the Drones Reunited platform is free as part of drone registration.

Still need help?

If you have any questions or help, the CAA has provided the following details to contact.

Drone and Model Aircraft Registration Team

Telephone: 0330 022 9930

Monday to Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm

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