Following the introduction of recent laws (Nov 2019) with respect to drone users and drone registration you may believe that a user with a registered drone is now able to provide your commercial drone footage… WRONG.
For a drone/UAV pilot to provide commercial footage or images, they must comply with a very different set of CAA standards. To qualify as a licenced commercial drone pilot the requirements are much more stringent and in-depth than the very basic conditions needed to comply with the new laws.
Your CAA approved pilot will have an operations manual which has been submitted to, and approved by, the Civil Aviation Authority. This is known as Permission for Commercial Operations or PfCO. Your professional operator will have strict guidelines to which they must adhere and parameters within which to operate when undertaking commercial flights.
If in doubt, ask your operator to show his PfCO paperwork in order to: a) establish his/her validity, and b) establish how the work can be carried out under the conditions of the Permission
NB. All our PfCO and Operations documentation is filed, registered and operated under our Drone and UAV Company, Double Red ACP Ltd.
Your PfCO authorised pilot will have insurance to cover public liability. He/she will generally be more experienced, more professional, more aware of potential hazards and safety issues and more proficient than your hobbyist pilot – after all, it is their job.
A substantial amount of planning is required, and indeed documented for each commercial flight. This includes working around the significant number of no-fly zones due to aircraft operations within the UK – especially in Lincolnshire with our military bases. No-fly zones may even be temporary so each flight site must be checked prior to each and every flight and under the conditions of our PfCO.
Pre-flight checks are supported by on-site, pre-flight inspection as dictated by the operations manual with risk assessments carried out on site immediately prior to, and throughout the flight. The decision to fly will always be with the drone operator/pilot. His decision is final and based on his knowledge of the PfCO under which he is operating, the capabilities of the aircraft, the risk assessment of the flight area, and any other considerations that may come into play or be brought to his attention – and these are continually changing. Wind speed, moving equipment, even the position of the general public can all play a part on this professional role and we urge all our pilots that they should never be pressurised to fly under any circumstances and request that our clients respect our pilots’ decisions.