Is it worth the risk?

Author: Lee Phillips
Fully Certified (PfCO) Remote Pilot

So you want some drone in your promo video and wouldn’t some aerial photos look amazing on the website, but do you know what’s all involved behind the scenes?

This article will help answer some questions, generate some new ones but hopefully, it will provide some clarity on when done right, aerial content can add different level wow factor.

What Do We Need?

Like driving a car, to do it legally, you need insurance and a license, a drone is similar, or is it?

Technically, the answer is Yes and No. How? Let me explain.

Yes, you can buy a drone, set it up and fly it, all without a license. Sure there are a bunch of caveats, conditions and considerations, but more about these later.

However, if you want to charge and make money from aerial footage, be it video or photos, then you need to have passed a nationally recognised course, sat a flight test, written an operations manual to the satisfaction of the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) who will grant your Permit for Commercial Operations (PfCO).

Once you have this, you will be able to start charging for your aerial services. Ninety percent of flying is common sense, so you do need a decent level to start with.

Cities and Built Up Areas

Flying a drone in a populated area is frowned upon and, in most cases, illegal. This doesn’t mean you can’t do it, you can, but you need to plan and organise it properly.

A lot of people though, do need educated on what is a perfectly legal (and safe) drone activity and what is considered illegal and possibly dangerous.

Drones have gained so much bad press over the years, mainly due to the ease in which someone can buy one. They get it, don’t understand it’s power and just fly. No knowledge on what do if things go wrong and bamm, drone crashes, someone gets hurt, the press get wind of it and all of a sudden, drones are evil.

First thing is to do a pre-site survey, a check of the local environment to deem whether or not it’s safe to fly. So many factors have to be considered but I will cover this in more detail in another post.

For example, we can go on site to film construction areas as long as we have the appropriate permissions in place, risk assessments done and if applicable, local authorities notified.

Conditions have to be right too otherwise this can jeopardise the flight.  Wind speed, directionality, precipitation, mechanical turbulence, light, magnetic and electrical interference, signal interference – all factors which can affect a flight to the point where the flight is abandoned.

These are some of the things we are taught to consider ahead of flying, taught to observe on site, it’s important factors which experience, knowledge and skill help you make the correct decisions before taking off.

{To Be Continued…}

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