Unmanned Aviator Certificate of Expertise Short Course

Unmanned Aviator Certificate of Expertise Short Course
UCLan’s Civic Drone Centre and flight school The Great Circle are offering the Unmanned Aviator Certificate of Expertise (UACE) course which provides a recognised qualification for those wishing to do Visual Line Of Sight (VLOS) or Extended-VLOS (E-VLOS) Aerial Work. It is specifically targeted at RPAS whose Maximum Take-Off Mass does not exceed 20kg.

The UK CAA has identified 2 critical elements which, when taken together, constitute acceptable evidence of pilot competency. Our UACE Pilot qualification is granted on successful completion of our 2 part programme: Theoretical Knowledge and Operations Manual and Practical Flight Assessment.

Entry and Admissions

Award Type:

Short Course

Ancillary Award:


Study Mode:


Delivery Method:


Course Length:

2 days


School of Engineering

Partner Colleges:

No Partner College



Start Date:

The course runs at various points throughout the year

Entry Requirements:

Contact the Civic Drone Centre on 01172 895728 or email CivicDroneCentre@uclan.ac.uk

Course Content

Course Outline:

Theoretical elements include:

  • Air Law
  • Operational Procedures
  • Human Performance
  • Principles of Flight
  • Navigation
  • Meteorology
  • Operations Manual Design
  • Flight Operations
  • Commercial Site Assessment
  • Risk Assessment & Management
  • Core Practical Elements span

a) Pre-flight actions including:

  • Mission planning, airspace considerations and site risk-assessment.
  • Aircraft pre-flight inspection and set-up (including flight controller modes and power-source hazards).
  • Knowledge of the basic actions to be taken in the event of an aircraft emergency or if a mid-air collision hazard arises during the flight.

b) In-flight procedures including:

  • Maintaining an effective lookout and keeping the aircraft within Visual Line of Sight (VLOS) at all times.
  • Performing accurate and controlled flight manoeuvres at representative heights and distances (including flight in ‘Atti’ (non-GPS assisted) mode or equivalent where fitted).
  • Real-time monitoring of aircraft status and endurance limitations.
  • Demonstration of ‘return-home’ following control-link transmission failure. Fixed-wing may demonstrate equivalent procedure that results in an automated,low-impact descent and landing.

c) Post flight actions including:

  • Shutting down/making-safe the aircraft.
  • Post-flight inspection and recording of any relevant data relating to aircraft general condition, aircraft systems, aircraft components and power-sources, controller functionality and crew health.

Learning Environment & Assessment:

Theoretical Examination

We oversee the writing, conduct, marking, results and feedback of all examinations in-house. The UACE Part 1 is formally assessed by a straight forward written examination consisting of 60 multiple choice questions which have to be answered within 2 hours; requiring a pass mark of 75%. This is taken on day 3.

Examinations are open-book and candidates may make use of the following materials in the examination:

  • UAV Theoretical Knowledge Guide
  • UK CAA 1:500,000 Aeronautical Chart
  • Pre-prepared notes in paper form
  • CRP/E6B Flight Computer
  • Scientific Calculator

Practical Examination

Practical Flight Assessment

Due to the wide variety of UAV/RPAS available in either fixed-wing or rotary, our examiner will be testing you on your ability to operate your aircraft as per your operations manual (which will also be assessed as part of this Flight Assessment). Our flight assessment allows you to be examined on 2 aircraft if you choose, at no additional cost.

As this is a flight assessment, you will naturally be expected to understand every aspect of your chosen aircraft, this includes its flight controls, safety systems, operational procedures and handling characteristics.

Our flight examiner will play the role of your client who will give you a detailed brief of a task that you are to undertake in a Commercial environment. You are expected to liaise professionally with them and ask relevant questions relating to any concerns you may have prior to commencing the flight.

The examiner will be observing the role of the Pilot and crew to ensure that the task is completed safely through all phases of flight or brought to a successful safe conclusion if it cannot be completed.

Academic Expertise

We are committed to delivering academic learning of the highest quality, helping you to stretch your mind and fulfil your university ambitions.

Learning outcome & aims

Theoretical knowledge and practical skilled needed to operate a UAV/RPAS commercially within the UK required by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Industry links & professional accreditation

The Unmanned Aviator Certificate of Expertise is recognized by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

Work experience and international opportunities

At UCLan we work with a range of businesses and organisations, many of which provide work experience opportunities and project briefs to enable to you gain real work experience whilst you undertake your postgraduate programme. Your course tutor will advise on opportunities available within your course and the UCLan Careers Team can provide help, advice and guidance on how to apply for them and how to make the most of these opportunities.

Graduate Careers

The UCLan Careers Team offer ongoing supportive careers advice and guidance throughout your course and after graduation, along with a range of modules, work experience opportunities and events to help you acquire the skills to make you stand out to potential employers in today’s competitive market.


UCLan is recognised for its outstanding course provision which gives students the skills, knowledge, and personal attributes necessary to succeed at the University and in their future careers. To find out more about the experiences of our students, read our success stories.

Progression Routes

From foundation courses through to world-leading research degrees, you can study a wide range of subject areas at UCLan. Whether you want to develop your knowledge in a subject you enjoy or gain further qualifications to enhance your career, at UCLan there are numerous progression routes for you to follow.

Fees & Funding

You can contact the Student Fees and Funding Team via phone, email, or post. If you are on the campus you can call into The 'i', for advice.
Tel: +44 (0)1772 892440
Email: SFFTeam@uclan.ac.uk
Student Fees and Funding Team, Foster Building 117, UCLan, Preston, PR1 2HE

Please contact us directly for current course prices, or head to The Great Circle’s website www.uace.uk

For 2018/19 fees please refer to our fees page.

How to Apply

Contact Darren Ansell at Civic Drone Centre on 01172 895304 or email CivicDroneCentre@uclan.ac.uk

About UCLan

Course Enquiries

University of Central Lancashire,
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)1772 892400

Email: cenquiries@uclan.ac.uk