Since I wrote my last blog, I'm pleased to say I successfully completed the flight assessment section of my course with Fly Icarus and my application for my PFCO has been sent to the CAA. I can't wait for my PFCO to be issued and begin my career as a UAV pilot.
I also have to thank everyone at Fly Icarus for all their help, the quality of the training was excellent and the whole way through the process of gaining my PFCO the knowledge and expertise they shared along the way has made it so much easier to progress from being a hobby pilot to a commercial operator in the future.
I highly recommend them to anyone looking at gaining their PFCO.
My Flight Assessment:
Myself and fellow Icarus ambassador Ricky Evans, teamed up to do our flight assessments on the same day at Fly Icarus HQ in Wallingford.
We are both from Scotland and knew each other years ago when we lived in the same small town, so it made sense to join forces for the trip down South.
The journey down the motorway gave us ample time to review our simulated commercial task and our planning, as well as testing each other on our emergency procedures and flight reference cards. Ricky is also very used to filling out risk assessments at his day job, whereas I have never had to use them before, so I used this time to pick his brains and gain as much knowledge as possible for completing them in the future.
By the time we arrived at our hotel near Wallingford I think we were both pretty frazzled with the journey as well as all the revision we'd done, so we decided to chill out for the rest of the evening and be fresh for the morning.
On the morning of the flight assessment, the forecast had been for light winds and some cloud but when we arrived at Fly Icarus the sun was shining bright, barely a breath of wind and hardly a cloud to be seen, I couldn't believe my luck!
We were met by the always friendly Ella at reception, and Tom the instructor. We helped ourselves to tea and coffee and then Tom gave us an outline of the day ahead and what to expect.
So it was then time to head off out to the flying site and complete our pre-flight assessment and risk assessment, Thankfully the only hazards in the field were some friendly cows and the occasional Red Kite overhead. We then returned to the office to report our findings and delivered our task plan and briefing to Tom, happy with our work, we headed back out to the field to complete the practical part of the assessment.
We placed our warning signs at the access points, placed our landing pad and cones out at the take-off & landing point, and prepped my aircraft for the flight.
I decided I would like to go first, I didn't want to wait for Ricky to do his assessment and maybe get more nervous as I watched.
As I said previously, the conditions were as near perfect as you could have asked for, and it made flying the simulated commercial job with in-flight emergencies fairly straightforward. It was then on to do the ATTI mode maneuvers, starting with hovers at different orientations, figure of eights and orbits. Again all of the time spent on practice flights plus the light winds made it relatively easy, it was time then to land and shut down.
Following a tense wait of 20 minutes or so, while Ricky completed his assessment, Tom eventually put us out of our misery letting us know we had both passed!
I must also commend Fly Icarus for their help in the application process, the information and assistance provided has made the initial application to the CAA a lot less daunting than it could have been. I hope to have my PFCO from the CAA in a few weeks time and I relish the opportunities the future may bring as a result.