A warning to Cumbria businesses contemplating hiring a drone operator in 2018.
Recently, we have seen more drones taking to our skies than ever before.
Drones are helping businesses save time, money and provide creative images and video…
In 2018 more houses & business premises will be aerial photographed by drone. More properties will be surveyed & inspected by drone; more land will be mapped and surveyed. More films and TV programs will utilise aerial drone filming.
The benefits that drones are already bringing to the Cumbria’s economy are impressive. Drone usage is expanding into new markets rapidly. The costs for aerial filming and photography have dramatically in recent years.
But…….Herein lays the problem…
The UK is overrun with illegal drone operators
By law anybody operating their drone commercially i.e. charging for the service or using it for their own business purposes MUST have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) and hold valid commercial insurance.
This law is blatantly and knowingly being flouted by irresponsible and unsafe illegal drone operators.
It is though that there may be more illegal drone pilots operating in the UK than legal pilots. Sadly, these illegal drone pilots know exactly what they are doing is illegal, BUT are still charging companies for aerial ‘work’.
It’s relatively simple to tell if an aerial footage clip is illegal. Airing illegal footage will instantly discredit your production. It tells your customers / viewers, that your company, is not concerned about drone safety.
As a business, if you hire a non CAA approved drone operator, you are putting your company’s reputation at risk. If things go wrong, you could also (along with the offending illegal pilot) be held liable for the property damage or personal injury. Footage could be seized by the Police and you may both face joint prosecution.
When hiring a drone pilot ALWAYS ask for a valid copy of the pilot’s CAA Permission for Commercial Operation (PFCO) and commercial insurance documents.
Keep copies of each document on file.
If you are a business that hires drone operators, please help keep the Cumbria’s airspace safe by hiring a legal pilot.
Here at Hovershotz, our CAA PFCO drone pilots have undergone training and have been assessed to ensure their drone piloting competency skills comply with the UK’s aviation rules and regulations. These Civil Aviation Authority, rules are there to keep the public safe from harm and property from damage. A drone in the wrong hands can cause serious damage or injury. Drones can fly at speeds in excess of 60 mph and weigh in excess of 15kg kg. They can fly (illegally) over 7 km away from the pilot or if the pilot loses contact fly away into aircraft flight paths. Don’t leave your business open to legal action and make sure you’re covered when you hire a drone pilot. Hovershotz ensure all aerial drone photography in Cumbria that we conduct is safe and legal.
There are many businesses across the North West of England (Cumbria, the Lake District & Lancashire) that are simply unaware of the law of the laws governing commercial use of drones. Hovershotz have repeatedly heard from businesses who felt let down, as they had paid ‘good money’ to have the aerial job done correctly and not by a cowboy! Many businesses buy their own drone for their own work (such as estate agents doing their own aerial property photography) not realising that they too need CAA permission.
There is a growing trend in online videos posed on Facebook or YouTube showing illegal drone pilots operating dangerously close to the public and flying dangerously above the safe flying altitude limit. There are internet groups who search out these illegal clips and report them to the Police (self proclaimed drone police). Thankfully, Cumbria Police are now starting to take the public safety posed by these unsafe drone operators seriously and are starting to prosecute them and those companies hiring them.
Aerial photography Cumbria
Despite what an illegal drone operator may tell you, You can’t just operate a drone anywhere. All CAA PFCO approved operators fly their drones at set distances; away from people, property, vehicles, vessels and ‘no fly zones’, gain landowners permission (particularly in the Lake District from organisations such as the National Trust or Lake District National Park). As a matter of course, all legal commercial drone pilots seek CAA authorisation to fly in any controlled airspace. Commercial drone pilots will also, when required, employ additional ground staff / observers to ensure every flight is safe and legal.
When HIRING a drone operator in Cumbria …..Be safe NOT sorry! ALWAYS check your pilot’s paperwork. Hire a CAA approved drone pilot NOT a cowboy.