Choosing a Drone Pilot? Get it right.

A few months ago we applied for our drone pilot’s license because we wanted to be able to offer drone footage as a service, but quite frankly if we had known at the start how much work would go into obtaining the license, we might have thought twice about it.

To say it has been challenging would be an understatement – not because we haven’t been up to the challenge – but because of the sheer amount of hoops we have had to jump through. Who would have thought that flying a drone would be so complex?! All we can say is that we hope it’ll be worth it.

So ‘why go through the rigmarole’, we hear you ask! Well it turns out that not just anyone is allowed to fly a drone. Even if it is a hobby, you have to adhere to some strict guidelines, but if you are flying a drone for commercial gain (such as us gathering footage for a client’s video) then you have to have the right license. Not only does this stop you from being arrested by the drone-police but it covers you for every eventuality and ensures that you are a competent enough person to safely fly your drone.

Thinking of getting some drone footage? Then choose your pilot wisely. Here’s how to go about it:

Commercial Operators vs. Amateur Flyers

If you need someone to do some drone work for you such as shoot an aerial video of your business premises for your business website, then you need to use a Commercial Operator (someone who has earned their license). Your mate who has a drone and his hobby is to fly it, is not allowed to take footage and sell it to you for ‘commercial gain’, as he would be breaking the law. In addition, if his drone fell out of the sky and injured an innocent bystander or someone’s personal property, then he probably wouldn’t be insured.

These are problems that you do not wish to encounter, so if you want someone to shoot commercial aerial footage for you then you need to use a Commercial Operator.

How do I find one?

Well we are one, for a start! We have passed our tests and are officially licensed to fly a commercial UAV. If there are drone flyers out there who can’t say the same, then they are not commercial pilots.

A commercial pilot will have undergone theoretical and practical exams, completed an operations manual and applied to the CAA. If the CAA are happy with the exams, the manual, insurance and the processes of the pilot then they will issue a PfCO – Permission for Commercial Operation.  By the way, this is an extremely long and arduous process and not for the faint-hearted (we’re still recovering).

Once registered, a commercial pilot will be listed with the CAA so you can find them there. If they are not on the list then they can’t go to the party. Another way to find one is to look on the Drone Safe Register where you can search by location to find your local pilot.

Once you have contacted your chosen pilot, you should expect them to ask a few questions and do a bit of research before he or she says they can definitely take on the job. For example, they will want to research the type of location, the risks, the equipment they might use, the legal requirements etc. Only then will they be able to send you an accurate quote.

In order to abide by the law, find a Drone Operator that is compliant, safe and has already agreed to take on the responsibility of handling a potentially dangerous piece of equipment. If anything goes wrong and anyone or anything gets damaged then they will be able to take responsibility for their actions.

Drone video content can be awe-inspiring, so let’s go about it the right way. Call us today to discuss your project.