Commercial certification recommendations for 2023

Hi All,

This is my first post so go easy.

I am looking at moving more towards the commercial side of Drones, Starting off I will be focusing on Shooting Weddings, Real estate, small inspections etc… Nothing Crazy as I will need to find my feet and see what fits me best.
I currently have a Mini 2 (Hope to upgrade to a Mini 3 Pro Soon) & Mavic 3 Classic, I have my Flyers ID and Operators ID however have been looking into what Certification would be needed and what would be good to have.
I know the current state the UK Government has left legislation in is rubbish at the moment and hope this improves soon! However, I was looking at possibly getting my A2 CofC as this will allow me to fly the Mavic 3 Classic within 50 Meters of people not involved with the flight this is an improvement from my current 150 Meter restriction. However I have seen lots of “A2 CofC is Dead”, “A2 CofC not worth it” etc since Jan 1st 23.

My question is what certification should I be looking to get? A2 Cofc? GVC? Others?! What benefit will each qualification bring with the current legislation, I always want to fly Legally and Safley.

Thanks for the help :slight_smile:


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Hi @AdamGallagher and welcome to Grey Arrows :wave:t2:

We’ve been seeing lots of those since about 2020 :rofl: Joking aside, you can never learn too much so they’re always useful to follow, despite not many people actually needing it.

Can we ask you a question in return, which might help you towards an answer of your own questions?

What specific restrictions or limitations are you currently up against that you need to overcome? Is it just the distance from people with the weight of your drone?

If you’ve not seen it yet, try running a bunch of scenarios through “Good 2 Go”, it’ll give you some clear answers as to what you can and can’t do:

Just to add to the advice of @PingSpike above.

There is no need for commercial certification per se, the only requirement is that you need some liability insurance for paid drone work.

@Drumsagard does wedding work and can probably offer some advice

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Hi @PingSpike

Thanks for the reply that’s a good point and I have done a few examples via Good 2 Go however in most of them I would ideally be flying at 50 Meters from uninvolved people so it sounds like A2 CofC would be my next logical step…

In some cases flying within that 50 Meter limit would also be handy do you know of any certifications that are above the A2 CofC that would possible allow closer flight for commercial purposes? Would that be the GVC?


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That’s very interesting and insurance is something I am currently looking into as I only have commercial liability insurance via Drone Cover Club at the moment however this will not be fit for purpose on any commercial work.

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Hi Adam welcome to the club, hope business gets up and going :+1:

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Hi Adam,

Welcome to GADC.

I’m a professional wedding photographer with A2 CofC. I Fly the Mini 3 Pro and Mavic 3 Classic. I had a long established photography business when I got in to drones, so it was easy for me to add them on. A drone to me is just another one of my cameras.
The problem you may come up against is that most wedding photographers & videographers these days have their own drone anyway and now include aerial photos/footage as part of their packages (like I do).
If you are planning on doing wedding work then your best bet is a Mini 3 Pro. You will find you are filming & taking photos well inside 50m more than you are outside 50m. If I’m at a castle or country house with open fields all around it I’ll often do my location shots on the Mavic 3, but most of the time I use the Mini 3 Pro. With the Mini 3 Pro all you will need is commercial insurance.


GVC is still 50 m (30 for TOAL), the core difference is that the 50 m is a bubble instead of a cylinder (it’s also a blanket distance all the way up to 25 kg). So you can fly 50 m above people and it counts as far enough, where as with the A2 it has to be 50 m horizontal distance.

Further reduced separations need an OSC which is really out of the scope of the work you’re planning to do. You’re far better off sticking to a sub 250 g if you need to be that close. Or hope that more drones start coming out that fill the A1 niche, you get up to 500 g in the transitional regulations, but I think the original DJI Air is one of the few drones that would benefit from that if memory serves.


Though the latest I’ve seen is that the CAA are reviewing PDRA01 and the ‘bubble’ is definitely in their sights. In the meantime, they’ve specifically told RAEs to remove references to the ‘bubble’ from training material and to emphasise the 50m horizontal distance.

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Thanks, guys this is all very help full information and it has made it clear to me that the A2 CofC is going to be my next goal!
The restrictions 150Meters 50 Meters etc… do they only apply to people? Or property as well (Commercial, Residential etc…)

Also in touching on the A2 CofC again does anyone have any recommendations on who to purchase training material (inc Moc Tests) from? and the costs associated to them?

PS Love to catch a Discount code where possible lol

Thanks again

I did my A2 with UAVHub, they have a build in mock test which you can do and it will pull randomly from a bank of questions every time. Their online training material was very good as well. Price goes on sale every now and then as well.

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Yeah just found them as one of the top results from Google. How did you find the exam overall? From what I have found online its a multiple choice test out of 30 marks and you need 24 to pass so 80%.

Separate distances for people and built up areas.

Google one of the million tables out there for the distances

150 m separation from built-up areas once you’re into A3, A1/A2 you can fly in built-up areas.

The CAA used to say treat buildings/cars as uninvolved people since you couldn’t guarantee they are empty. However, they are changing their stance on this and in CAP722H which came out in December the wording is now as follows:

2.1.7. Vehicles, vessels and structures
Although there are no specific separation distances from vessels, vehicles and structures within the regulations, in many cases these will still have persons inside them who need to be protected. For example, the ‘endangerment’ regulation in the Air Navigation Order (article 241)- it is an offence to ‘endanger’ such property with an unmanned aircraft.

Additionally, the overall security and privacy situation must also be considered. There may be buildings in the area where it would be inadvisable, from a security or privacy standpoint, to be flying close to without first obtaining permission to do so.

The bold text being the new addition. So there’s a bit more leeway with flying near buildings and cars


Thats good to see they are applying some common sense to different flying situations, After looking at that chart you linked I noticed under the A2 Catagory (Highlighted in image) you can fly up to 5 Meters of uninvolved people in “Low Speed” so am I right in thinking with the Mavic 3 you could fly in Cine mode with the A2 CofC at a distance greater than 5 Meters of people? Or am I way off the mark here haha

So the issue there, is that only applies to a C2 marked system. At the moment there are no class marked systems that are valid in the UK, so all our RPAS are Privately Built / Legacy / Transitional.

If the UK gets it’s act together and retrospectively approves the Mavic 3 for C2 via a firmware update (like the EU did) then yes you could. But until then, no.

Low speed is set a 3 m/s and the default Cine mode is 5 m/s so thats one key difference they need to change in the firmware for example.

Okay, thats good to know and something to hope/look forward to, now we wait for the UK Government to get their act together…

Hi Adam,
Everyone has provided sound advice in answer to your main question.
With regard to insurance, yes, you will need public liability cover as already mentioned.
Also, look into taking out professional indemnity (PI) insurance.
This protects you against claims of negligence/ inadequate service etc. - (think of someone who is not happy with your service or deliverables on a wedding shoot for example, or a client that claims your drone photography has wiped thousands off the value of their property …).
Good luck with your venture!

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Honestly? It took me 5 mins to do the exam when I took it, got 100%, do the mock plenty of times and you’ll be fine.

My understanding is the training providers also write their exams, not the caa, so make of that what you will… (not 100% sure on this but I’ve heard it said)


More Sound advice from everyone! thanks so much, I am just back from a week’s holiday so A2 CofC It is this week :slight_smile: