Consultation on the SafeUse of Drones in the UK Government Response Department of Transport

By | UK Drone Legalities | No Comments

The drones are coming – but their use will now be regulated, as the government announced this morning that devices must now be registered and users will have to sit safety awareness tests.

After running a consultation from December to March, the government today published a response outlining plans to make owners of drones weighing 250g and more register details of their device.

Unlocking the UK’s High Tech Economy: Consultation on the SafeUse of Drones in the UK Government Response Department of Transport

“The UK is at the forefront of an exciting and fast growing drones market and it is important we make the most of this emerging global sector,” said aviation minister Lord Callanan.

Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives. They are also used extensively for aerial photography, filming and surveys.

But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.

The government also said it plans to bring forward and expand the use of “geo-fencing”, a technology which acts as an invisible force field around buildings or sensitive areas such as prisons, nuclear plants or airports.

This works by programming drones to hover at the edge of certain zones. Some manufacturers already have this feature locked in, but the government aims to reinforce its practice.

The consultation summary also added that “options to increase penalties when the law is broken” were being explored.

In the consultation, bodies such as the Department for Transport, the British Airline Pilots Association and the Military Aviation Authority revealed evidence that drones weighing 400g could damage the windscreens of helicopters in particular. A particular concern for drones being operated in the English Lake District in Cumbria, where the RAF regularly fly in LFA17 (military designated fly zone).

Airliner windscreens were found to be much more resistant, as it would take a drone of around 2kg to cause critical damage and only if the aeroplane was flying at high speed.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/631638/unlocking-the-uks-high-tech-economy-consultation-on-the-safe-use-of-drones-in-the-uk-government-response.pdf

The outcome of the consultation is welcomed by Hovershotz Aerial Drone Photography Video & Inspections Cumbria, as we already follow strict processes laid down by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) to comply with our permission for commercial Operation (PFCO) and we have become frustrated with the antics of cowboy drone operators.

Last year, the Civil Aviation Authority launched a new “drone code” with six principles:
Always keep your drone in sight
Stay below 400ft (120m) to comply with the drone code
Every time you fly your drone you must follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Keep the right distance from people and property
You are responsible for each flight
Stay well away from aircraft, airports and airfields

 

UK Government to announce new drone registration and regulations.

By | UK Drone Legalities | No Comments

Hovershotz have learned that the UK government are to announce plans to introduce drone registration and mandatory safety awareness courses for owners of the small unmanned aircraft (SUSA’s).

It will affect anyone who owns a drone which weighs more than 250 grams (8oz).

Drone maker DJI said it was in favour of the measures.

There is no time frame or firm plans as to how the new rules will be enforced and the Department of Transport admitted that “the nuts and bolts still have to be ironed out”.

The drone safety awareness test will involve potential flyers having to “prove that they understand UK safety, security and privacy regulations”, it said.

The plans also include the extension of geo-fencing, in which no-fly zones are programmed into drones using GPS co-ordinates, around areas such as prisons, nuclear power plants and airports.

‘Protect the public’

“Our measures prioritise protecting the public while maximising the full potential of drones,” said Aviation Minister Lord Martin Callanan.

“Increasingly, drones are proving vital for inspecting transport infrastructure for repair or aiding police and fire services in search and rescue operations, even helping to save lives.

“But like all technology, drones too can be misused. By registering drones and introducing safety awareness tests to educate users, we can reduce the inadvertent breaching of airspace restrictions to protect the public.

There has not been a significant accident involving a drone yet, but there have been several reports of near misses with commercial aircraft. There have also been incidents of drones being used to deliver drugs to prison inmates.

“Registration has its place. I would argue it will focus the mind of the flyer – but I don’t think you can say it’s going to be a magic solution,” said Dr Alan McKenna, law lecturer at the University of Kent.

“There will be people who will simply not be on the system, that’s inevitable.”

Drone and aircraft

Similar registration rules in the US were successfully challenged in court in March 2017 and as a result are currently not applicable to non-commercial flyers.

Dr McKenna said there were also issues around how a drone’s owner could be identified by police and whether personal liability insurance should also be a legal requirement in the event of an accident.

‘Common sense’

DJI spokesman Adam Lisberg said the plans sounded like “reasonable common sense”.

“The fact is that there are multiple users of the airspace and the public should have access to the air – we firmly believe that – but you need systems to make sure everybody can do it safely,” he said.

“In all of these issues the question is, where is the reasonable middle ground? Banning drones is unreasonable, having no rules is also unreasonable.

“We’re encouraged that [the British government] seems to be recognising the value drones provide and looking for reasonable solutions.”

Currently only commercial drone operators are regulated by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and have to pass strict theory exams, flight tests and hold specific insurance.

Hovershotz aerial drone photography video and inspections Cumbria, welcome these new rules. We regularly come across idiots who have bought a cheap drone and then fly it dangerously without any knowledge of the current rules or what constitutes safe flights. This is of particular concern in Cumbria and the Lake District; where tourists regularly fly drones to film & video the dramatic scenery, without considering that it is a military fly zone.

Drones for Schools & School Drone Hire in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District

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‘Drones for Schools & School Drone Hire in Cumbria, Lancashire and the Lake District’

The latest DSR initiative aimed at spreading the message of ‘drone safety’ to the UK’s younger generations and perhaps the drone pilots of tomorrow..

DSR is the UK’s leading drone hire website. We have nationwide coverage and some of the best drone pilots available for hire in the UK, including Cumbria based Hovershotz. All our members are CAA registered and fully insured professional working drone pilots. Our members are working on all manner of aerial imagery jobs in many sectors of the nation’s economy.

Recognising that our members have a wealth of knowledge and experience of working in the UK’s drone industry we thought it would be great to inspire younger generations by introducing them to drones, drone safety and what drones are capable of in the right hands!

DSR have launched their new initiative called ‘Drones for Schools’, aimed at introducing drones to school children. The idea stems from the fact that drones in the right hands create lots of benefits both in the workplace and for leisure. But drones are not toys! Anybody controlling a drone must remember to fly safely and follow the drone laws set by the UK’s Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

So that’s why DSR launched the new initiative; because it’s great for our DSR members such as Hovershotz to inspire younger generations, convey their knowledge and instil safe drone practices to perhaps the drone pilots of tomorrow. What’s more our drone pilots get to pass on their creativity to schools by providing them with some stunning aerial photos of the school and pupils! It’s the perfect visual memento for the children, parents and pupil’s families!

Mrs Carter, “Teaching children about the safe use of drones is a great idea”.

To kick start the initiative earlier this week, Jessica Jay and the Drone Safe team joined a DSR member, who introduced drones to the school children at All Saints C.E Primary School in West Sussex.

All Saints CE Primary School hired a professional pilot through DSR to provide their pupils with an introduction of drones and their safe use. The fun packed day was also a chance for the children to learn the important safety practices associated with drones. Some important take home safety messages were raised. It also enabled the children to take a close look at some of the high-tech drone equipment being used by drone pilots today.

Aerial photo of All Saints CE School logo

After the drone presentation, the school children gathered in the playground and the drone pilot took a series of aerial photos of the entire school, all the pupils and staff. The various photographs were then given to All Saints to print off and the children’s parents were given the opportunity to purchase if they wished.

Drones are already revolutionising the way we do business in the UK. DSR believes that the safe and responsible use of drones can bring significant benefits to the UK as a whole. It’s a positive thing to be able to introduce drones to school children and inspire future generations to perhaps become the drone pilots of tomorrow.

The children enjoying their talk by Jerry Laurence

We’re excited to be able to show you the video that we produced whilst visiting All Saints School, West Sussex.

If you’d like a Drone Safe Register™ pilot to come down to your school and give a fun and educational talk to your pupils or even to organise a school group aerial photograph then check out Hovershotz and get in contact with us today. We are registered with DSR and based in Cumbria and cover Cumbria, Lancashire and the Lake District!

Competition for Star Wars Day May the Fourth – Drone Giveaway

By | Drones & UAV's | No Comments

A bit of fun to celebrate Star Wars day  – May the fourth. Hovershotz are giving away a toy Tie Fighter drone. To stand a chance of winning this, just like & share. We are based in the UK and can only post to a UK address. Good luck and May the Fourth be with you

 

Star Wars Hovershotz givaway.

A bit of fun to celebrate Star Wars day tomorrow – May the fourth. We are giving away a toy Tie Fighter drone. To stand a chance of winning this, just like & share. We are based in the UK and can only post to a UK address. Good luck and May the Fourth be with you.

Posted by Hovershotz Aerial Drone Photography Video and Inspections Cumbria on Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Hovershotz Aerial Drone Photography Videos and Inspections are the leading drone operator in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District in the North West of England UK.

Aerial Photography Lake District

Hovershotz EVLOS Blea Tarn Langdale Lake District Cumbria Aerial photograph by drone

Hovershotz gain Extended Visual Line of Sight EVLOS aerial drone permission from the CAA a first for Cumbria & the Lake District

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Hovershotz aerial drone photography video & inspections are delighted to announce that  have received permission from the CAA Civil Aviation Authority, to fly Extended Visual Line of Sight (EVLOS). We believe that Hovershotz are the first and only drone operator in Cumbria & the Lake District to gain the authorisation.

This means when following certain conditions Hovershotz can fly out to a range of 1500 metres and a height of 500 feet above ground level. Almost all other UK companies are restricted to operating up to 500 metres and 400 feet.

This is great news for our customers, helping save both time and money and also meaning Hovershotz can now carry out tasks other Cumbrian drone operators are simply unable to complete! It also sets Hovershotz apart from any other commercial drone operator in Cumbria, the Lake District & Lancashire in being authorised to not only fly EVLOS but also having night flying permission, making Hovershotz the top professional drone operator in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District.

This will be of particular benefit to our clients in the film making, news media and surveying industries. Hovershotz – now the first choice for professional aerial drone photography, videos & Inspections across the North West of England.

Another example of how Hovershotz leads where our competitors follow.

Hovershotz commercial drone service Cumbria Lancashire Lake District NW & NE

www.hovershotz.co.uk

Aerial Wind Turbine Inspections & Surveys by Drone Cumbria Energy Coast

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

Drones and Wind Turbine Inspections: The Lowdown

Wind turbines are pretty massive, right? We’re talking about structures bigger than Nelsons Column. That’s pretty big.

 

Plus, there are all of those rotating blades that look pretty intimidating. To go anywhere near them for inspection, you need to switch them off – and that costs a lot of money. But let’s face it, no sane engineer is going to go anywhere near those super-strength blades until they’re safely stationary.

 

There are so many wind turbines, and they keep springing up everywhere on the landscape. For good reason, too: they produce effective green energy. As of March 2017, in the UK there are 7,250 wind turbines with a total installed capacity of over 14.6 gigawatts: 9,512 megawatts of onshore capacity and 5,098 megawatts of offshore capacity. Many of these wind turbines are sited on the Cumbrian energy coast on the edge of the English Lake District national park.

That’s a lot of maintenance, and a lot of shut-down time.

 

The solution – Send In The Drones!

 

An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is able to reach the dizzying heights of a wind turbine  and – in the hands of a skilled pilot from a professional licenced drone operator – reduce or negate any operational shutdown required for a routine inspection.

 

We’re not kidding you: an inspection that would take hours or even days with a serious amount of safety gear and some brave, brave souls indeed can actually take mere minutes with a drone. A UAV can be launched in minutes, flown to the structure, and deliver real-time high definition footage to an inspection team safely planted on the ground below.

 

The detail picked up by on-board cameras is minute – even hairline cracks are possible to spot. The ability to review, slow down, and replay footage means highly detailed inspections can be carried out to identify problem areas, common difficulties, or regular maintenance requirements. Now you only need to send the engineer up the drone to actually fix it (drones don’t quite do that… yet), instead of spending a lot of time on the initial inspection AND the repair.

 

Offshore Wind Farms And Drones

 

‘What about offshore wind turbines? Surely they can’t operate in harsh marine environments?’ TO this we say: we think that rock you’ve been hiding under probably needs a spring clean by now. Marine drones are not just a reality, they’re already in use by the most savvy offshore engineers!

 

Designed for the difficult environment presented by offshore inspections, marine specific drones can operate in high winds, varied air pressure, and not be affected by salt corrosion. Yet they also still deliver the high quality inspection footage that you’d find on any land-based wind turbine. If anything, marine drones for wind turbine inspections are the leaders of the pack, as they save even more money: your engineer crew won’t need to be shipped to each turbine for inspection and then spend hours rigging up with safety gear. As long as the drone pilot and his assistant are planted on a boat within regulation distance of the UAV, you can inspect as many offshore wind turbines as you like from one spot.

 

Drones: The No-Brainer For Wind Turbine Inspections

 

Without the need to physically climb a structure, time is saved. Without the need to rig up safety gear, time is saved. Without the need to move at a human pace, time is saved. Without the need for… you get the picture. Time is money, people! Save time, save money, and produce more regular maintenance checks without increasing your budget. Drones aren’t the future: they’re the now.

Hovershotz aerial photography video & inspections are experienced in surveying wind turbines across the North West of England in Cumbria Lancashire & the Lake District. We hold full CAA permission for commercial operation to operate during the day and even at night. The leading professional drone & UAV company in Cumbria

Hovershotz commercial drone service Cumbria Lancashire Lake District NW & NE

Hovershotz Have Been Granted CAA Aerial Drone Night Flying Permissions – now the leading drone operator Cumbria!

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

Hovershotz Have Been Granted Drone Night Flying Permissions!

For drone companies in the UK wishing to operate commercially, receiving a Permission For Commercial Operation (CAA PFCO) is the necessary first step towards becoming a licenced UAV operator. This is the basic legal requirement for any drone company that wishes to sell or make commercial gain from its aerial drone services and so any authorised UK drone company operating today will have been granted this permission.

What is much less common however, is the permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to operate drones at night-time after dark. Only a handful of UK professional drone operators are licenced for night operations and up to now, none in Cumbria.

At Hovershotz, we are very pleased to announce that we have recently been granted drone night flying permissions by the CAA and are now able to operate our drones 24 hours a day, right through the night. We believe that we are the first and only drone operator to be granted night flying permission in Cumbria, Lancashire & the Lake District. Yet another differentiator that sets Hovershotz apart from the competition –  as Cumbria’s leading commercial drone professional.

Many of our clients ask us the question ‘can drones fly at night’ which is something we have been hoping to say yes to for a some time now and it has been granted to us the timing couldn’t have been better, as we are shortly due to take delivery of a new all-weather drone. Meaning Hovershotz will be able to offer 24/7 drone filming whatever the weather or time of day/night – particularly useful for breaking news stories or any film companies shooting at night on location in the Lake District wanting drone footage.

Why is the CAA night rating not automatically granted to operators?

The simple answer is; only a handful of pilots in the UK are skilled and experienced enough to fly drones at night and in Cumbria, only Hovershotz have a pilot of this calibre. Licenced drone operators have to pass stringent checks in order to operate commercially, as not only are drones a relatively new technology, but they can also be hazardous if not controlled responsibly, and if clear safety procedures are not adhered to. Operating drones at night simply increases the risk factor, as visibility is significantly reduced and people and objects are harder to spot and avoid. Only the most skilled and experienced pilots have the ability to fly in these more difficult conditions. For this reason, authorised drone operators are not granted night flying permissions as standard and have to apply for a CAA night rating separately if they hope to fly at night. To gain night flying permission Hovershotz had to satisfy the CAA that our processes and procedures were robust to allow safe commercial drone operation at night and that our pilots were suitably skilled, experienced and competent to fly safely in the dark.

Common applications for flying drones at night

The ability to operate drones at night not only brings with it greater flexibility for filming schedules, but can also allow for more unorthodox applications to be undertaken. Some of the most suitable applications include:

Thermal Infrared surveys and inspections:

Thermal infrared drone inspections and surveys should be carried out where possible at night as the results are more accurate due to less light and heat pollution. Examples could be roofing & building surveys, powerline inspections, solar farm inspections, utility & substation inspections.

Search and rescue:

Drones can be used more effectively at night when looking for missing persons or crime suspects, as when combined with a night-vision or infrared thermal imaging camera (Hovershotz are able to offer thermal infrared filming), they can easily pinpoint the location of the subject. Similarly, this technique works well for some wildlife management applications – especially with purely nocturnal animals.

Events:

Certain events only happen at night-time and without night flying permissions; these cannot be captured from the air. Examples could be for fireworks displays, wedding receptions, festivals and extreme sporting events.

Security:

Commercial premises are most vulnerable to criminal attacks at night and it is at this time that security is normally required. Through the use of drone night-vision or infrared cameras, UAVs can be used to patrol areas, act as a deterrent, and record any criminal activity in real-time.

Film and television:

Many films and television programmes would benefit greatly from aerial footage shot at night (particularly in the Lake District), though it is rarely seen, unless perhaps shot from a helicopter. Now Hovershotz offer filmmakers the option of aerial drone filming at night in the Lake District & Cumbria.

News:

By their very nature, news events happen in the moment, so it is not always possible to wait for favourable daylight conditions to capture them when they occur. Having the ability to film at night ensures that journalists and news agencies don’t miss the action as it happens, particularly as Hovershotz will also shortly be introducing all weather drones to our ever expanding fleet.

Another example of how Hovershotz leads where our competitors follow (or even trailing in our wake).

So, if you have a project in mind that involves filming at night with drones, be sure to get in touch with by contacting Andy on 07962 444482 or emailing andy@hovershotz.co.uk http://www.hovershotz.co.uk

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Hovershotz win contract for aerial drone windfarm wind turbine surveys and inspections Cumbria Energy Coast.

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys, Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

Hovershotz, the leading professional drone operator in the Lake District and Cumbria, have won a major contract to survey & inspect wind turbines at a number of windfarms in the UK. Hovershotz are already the number one aerial drone photography and video experts in Cumbria and the Lake District and now we can add aerial drone inspections of wind turbines and renewable wind farms to that list of competencies.

Hovershotz have just completed the first wind turbine inspection of Moorside Wind Farm Drigg, Cumbria. We have created a short video clip from the drone footage with Sellafield in the background. This surreal video of a solitary wind turbine on the West Cumbrian Energy Coast, facing off the behemoth Sellafield nuclear reprocessing plant. Located on the edge of the Lake District National Park Cumbria.

Aerial drone footage of a renewable wind turbine on the British Energy coast Cumbria.

Hovershotz Aerial Drone Photography Video & Inspections Lake District Cumbria

 

 

Aerial Drone photograph of Grasmere Island Lake District Cumbria filming image video Hovershotz national trust photo

BBC News feature aerial video filming by Hovershotz for the National Trust in the Lake District Cumbria

By | Aerial Photography Filming & Surveys in the Lake District. | No Comments

BBC News (Breakfast TV, BBC News Channel, BBC Online & BBC News clips) have today been running a news article on the National Trust being gifted Grasmere Island in the Lake District Cumbria. The drone footage in the opening sequence was filmed by Hovershotz.

 

Click here for story

Hovershotz areal drone video and photographs have been used by most UK & European news bulletins and newspapers.

If any newspapers, press, news channels or journalists require any aerial drone filming or photography at short notice in Cumbria, the Lake District or Lancashire, then Hovershotz can cater for your needs – we are CAA licenced, know the local area and are the only local drone operator with permission to operate at night.

 

Aerial Drone photograph of Grasmere Island Lake District Cumbria filming image video Hovershotz national trust photo

Hovershotz aerial drone image of Grasmere Lake District Cumbria features in UK National Press

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One of Hovershotz aerial drone photographs features in a news article in the most of the UK national press  (Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail & Westmorland Gazette newspapers today – also BBC news channel). The article is about the National Trust purchasing Grasmere Island in the Lake District Cumbria. This image was extracted from a 4K video we filmed for a project for the National Trust earlier this month.

Aerial Drone photograph of Grasmere Island Lake District Cumbria filming image video Hovershotz national trust

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4251088/National-Trust-wins-island-inspired-creation.html

 

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/02/22/national-trust-finally-owns-lake-district-island-inspired-creation/

http://www.thewestmorlandgazette.co.uk/news/15110468.Lake_District_island_gifted_to_National_Trust/#

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-cumbria-39068331

If any newspapers, press, news channels or journalists require any aerial drone filming or photography at short notice in Cumbria, the Lake District or Lancashire, then Hovershotz can cater for your needs – we are CAA licenced, know the local area and are the only local drone operator with permission to operate at night.

Hovershotz are an official supplier and are registered on the systems of the BBC& ITV.