In the first place as a photographer what use are drones to my business? As a result, what services are appropriate for the photography work that I undertake?

Classes of Drones

Therefore, most people think of drones as being a pilotless vehicle. In fact some drones are big and some are small.

  • In the first place, the big drones are referred to as Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS). In this case, they are likely to be Military or research vehicles and generally 150kg plus. As a result, these are not drones that most photographers might consider using.
  • Likewise the next size down is the light UAS between 20kg and 150kg. For one thing, these may be a bespoke unit and have various uses. By the same token, it is not likely that this would be a vehicle of use to my business.
  • The last size of the drone is 7kg and below. Accordingly, these are the most common type of drones for ariel photography/videography. It is this class of drone that is most useful for my type of photography. These are referred to as Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA).

Use of the drone for Aerial Photography

In reality, taking photographs from above allows for a different perspective of a subject. This includes:-

  1. Property Residential & Commercial
  2. Trains
  3. Cars
  4. People
  5. Landscape
  6. Boats/Ships
  7. Photographing areas that are hard to reach.
  8. Site surveying
  9. Environmental
  10. Insurance
  11. Sports
  12. Marketing
Picture of a drone on a green background drones

Flying with a drone.

Likewise, drones are available from different manufacturers and come in a variety of models. The first thing to remember is that by using your drone to make money you are required in the UK to have a Permission for Commercial Operation (PFCO) certificate. The PFCO certificate is issued by the Civil Aviation Authority but only after meeting the strict criteria. This also means following the aviation rules that cover drone flying.

To clarify the passage below is straight from The Air Navigation Order 2016 and Regulations CAP393
Meaning of “commercial operation”
7. For the purposes of this Order, “commercial operation” means any flight by a small unmanned aircraft except a flight for public transport, or any operation of any other aircraft except an operation for public transport—
(a) which is available to the public; or
(b) which, when not made available to the public,
(i) in the case of a flight by a small unmanned aircraft, is performed under a contract between the SUA operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the remote pilot; or
(ii) in any other case, is performed under a contract between an operator and a customer, where the latter has no control over the operator,
in return for remuneration or other valuable consideration

Commercial Flying

If you have not met the criteria for a PFCO then you are only allowed to fly your Drone as a hobbyist. As a result, this places a lot of restrictions on the person flying the drone.

In summary, you have to comply with the Aviation Law for the UK. Failure to comply when things go wrong will result in the owner of the drone being prosecuted.

For this reason, I have now undertaken the drone training and passed the theory and practical tests. Coupled with this to comply with the CAA regulations I have had to compile an operations manual. As a result, this has to clearly show how I will operate the business and take into consideration emergency procedures.

Next Steps

In this case, I have received my operations manual back from NATS. Accordingly, they have checked the manual to ensure that there are no glaringly obvious mistakes. As a result, my next step is to buy insurance and then complete the application form to submit to the CAA.

It’s important to realise, that when the CAA are happy they will issue the PFCO. As a result, I can then undertake commercial operations for Ariel Photography/videography.

For further information on these services contact Martin now.

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