Flight Testing Resources

This page provides more information on our flight tests.

Flight Test

Our flight test, conducted for the award of a Pilot Certificate or as part of the annual OCA for Part 102 operators, is designed to assess the ability of the pilot to address the following topics:
  • flight planning including weather;
  • hazard assessment;
  • airspace knowledge and procedures if operating within 4km of an aerodrome;
  • battery management;
  • knowledge of UAS systems;
  • failsafe functions (if any);
  • pre-flight checks;
  • take-off and landing;
  • 360 degree yaw-turn maintaining position;
  • four quarters of orientation;
  • ascending and descending circuits;
  • figure-of-8 flight path;
  • vertical 180 degree ascending and descending corkscrew; and
  • emergency situations.
Important Note: In order to pass our flight tests you must be able to fly in DJI's "attitude" (ATTI) mode. This is the mode that the craft will revert to if it loses GPS, and we can guarantee that at some point it will lose GPS.
Join Chris Jackson, our Manager Flight Standards and head examiner, as he demonstrates our flight test and talks through what is expected.

Why ATTI Mode?
A good example of the need to be able to fly in ATTI mode if the craft loses GPS is provided by a June 2020 report from the UK's Air Accident Investigation Board (AAIB).

The AAIB reports:
  The UAS, a DJI M600 Pro, was being operated in an automated flight mode to survey a construction site when a GPS-compass error caused the aircraft to revert to [ATTI mode]. By the time that the pilot and observer realised that it was not responding to the return-to-home (RTH) function, visual line of sight was lost when the aircraft drifted with the wind beyond a line of trees. It subsequently collided with the roof of a house before falling into the property’s rear garden.  

The AAIB noted that "manual flying is a perishable skill that UAS operators may need to rely on in the event of an emergency". It recommended that pilots undertake training to "remain competent at maintaining manual control of their aircraft in the event that automated flight modes are lost."

You wouldn't fly as a passenger in an aircraft where the pilot can't recover from an engine failure, so why should it be ok to fly a UAV if you aren't able to recover from the most common failure mode?

The latest version of our flight testing documents can be downloaded here: