Drones are all the rage right now that's no secret! You can walk into any high street electronics store and its nearly a guarantee that they will have drones on the shelf. And closely behind is the high volume of people of people offering to take pictures of your house or wedding or whatever else they can offer you. If there is this amount of selection in the market right now of flyers why would you choose a professional such as myself? Simply put its education and insurance.
When you hire a professional like myself you are hiring someone who has to correct credentials and the correct skills to ensure not only are you getting that amazing product that you are after but also that its done safely. Because of this it allows me to fly where others cant like the above.
In the Uk every object that can fly comes under the governance of the Civil Aviation Authority(CAA). Drones categorically fall under their regulations. Long story short, rules for drone flying are set out by the Air Navigation Order 2016. Within this document are a collection of articles that dictate where, what and how you can fly drones legally. After all, we cant just have drones whizzing around threatening people, their homes and most importantly other air users such as planes and helicopters. Safety is paramount. simplified down, the rules basically fall into these three things.
1. Never fly near aircraft, airports or other air users
This should go without saying and is basic common sense although we have seen an upsurge of drones near active runways.
2. maintain vlos (vertical line of sight) at all times
Again, this is a safety rule. How do you know where your drone is going if you cant see it?
3. stay 150ft (50m) away from people and property, 150m from congested areas
This is the big one. Safety is paramount with drones and these separation parameters are crucial. This is law and must be abided by so if a drone flyer offers to take a picture of your home in a busy town this should set alarm bells ringing. That is of course unless he is a professional which i will move on to next.
HOW DO YOU KNOW WHO IS PROFESSIONAL?
To be able to fly professionally the CAA put in place the requirement to have what is known as a PFCO of a Permission For Commercial Operation. to obtain this a drone pilot must display proficiency in the ability to control a drone but also they must demonstrate the ability to plan and risk manage effectively. This starts in a classroom learning about various planning procedures, i wont bore you with too much detail but things we pre plan for are things like obstacles, weather, potential privacy issues and many more. one of the big things we plan for is other air users. As professional drone pilots we have to ensure we are not creating risks for other users which means we need to know what's going on.
Just like regular airline pilots we refer to categories of airspace and other issues such as notams and restricted airspace. We meticulously plan for this informing all the rellivent authorities of our intentions.
Take a look at the screenshot below showing how busy london airspace is and what I look at during the planning phase.
with Paul Hinwood Photography and Film you know that you are using a fully insured PFCO pilot.
A professional Pilot will walk you through every step of the way ensuring safety at all times leaving you in the comfort that everything is above board. It's highly likely that a professional pilot will cost you more but is it not worth it for peace of mind?
Next time a a drone flyer rocks up to you and says yeah i can do that! now you will know exactly what to look out for.