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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org https://www.hovershotz.co.uk