Frequently Asked Questions
For the average 'non-droner' it can be quite difficult finding a clear answer to simple questions as there is a lot of outdated or misleading information out there. We have pulled together a list of FAQs to hopefully guide your decision making process.
We hope to answer the big questions, but please feel free to contact us if you have a question which isn't covered. We want to make sure that you are completely informed and have confidence in us as well as others before flying.
Are you CAA Approved?
We have been granted Operational Authorisation by the UK Civil Aviation Authority to operate in the far more restrictive Specific category of operations. Additionally, we are able to fly drones in the Open A1, A2 and A3 categories.
Is weather a problem?
Most commercial drones do not have an ingress protection rating and flying in rain is therefore not advisable.
Wind can be problematic but the stabilisation and position locking systems of our drones are very capable and can handle breezes up to 22mph whilst maintaining its position. Structures create unexpected turbulence which can result in sudden drops in altitude with these stronger winds, so 22mph and above should be avoided.
How long can you fly for?
Flight times last approximately 20-25mins. The variance is due to wind resistance and the speed of travel but don't worry as we pack plenty of batteries!
Whilst this might not seem like much, the relatively small LiPo battery delivers a combined 20,000 RPM for the motors whilst combating winds, flying up to 45mph and transferring 4k footage to our screens.
How far and high can you fly?
We are able to fly up to a maximum height of 400ft vertically and 500m horizontally provided that we can maintain our visual line of sight of the drone.
These limits vary depending on where we fly, as additional restrictions may apply.
Can you fly anywhere?
Depending on the airspace and location we may need additional permission from Air Traffic Control, landowners, the police and other authorities.
Certain areas of London are subject to additional flight restriction zones, shown in this map. We can determine your sites local restrictions very quickly, and then obtain the relevant approvals.
What should I look for in a drone pilot?
Not all flights are the same and neither is the skill level required to conduct them. As a minimum, commercial drone pilots must have:
- 750k Special Drawing Rights Insurance (equates to roughly £750k)
- Insurance compliant with EC785/2004 'Requirements for Air Carriers and Air Operators'
Basic Training and Registration
- Each pilot must pass a CAA 'drone code' test which covers important topics such as separation distances, risks and general responsibilities.
- Each pilot must register with the CAA and be assigned an operator and/or flyer ID, which must be clearly identifiable on the drone.
- The A2 Certificate of Competency - for operations in the Open (low risk) category
- GVC & Operational Authorisation - for operations in the Specified (medium risk) category)
Are you insured?
We carry £2m PL, PI, data and privacy insurance with every flight. If a project is particularly sensitive we can increase this accordingly.
How much do your services cost?
Our fees vary from project to project. Generally speaking, there are costs associated with pre-site surveys and securing permissions, conducting the flight and travel, and post-flight data processing.
We can usually give you a budget over the phone, and you can see our list of budgets here.
I am concerned about privacy
Drones with cameras are covered by the Data Protection Act and the CAA outlines minimum separation distances from people who are classified as 'uninvolved' which we strictly adhere to.
We hold our professionalism to the highest standards. We will always be courteous and take every step to ensure that members of the public, immediate neighbours and other parties where appropriate are kept informed of our flights.
The drone industry is filled with abbreviations and jargon which is difficult to keep track of, so below is a list of the key terms you may come across on our website:
|A2 CoC||A2 Certificate of Competency||The certification enabling drone pilots to operate in the A2 subcategory of operations with A2 classified drones|
|CAA||Civil Aviation Authority||The United Kingdoms aviation regulator|
|FRZ||Flight Restriction Zone||Areas in the UK where drone operations are prohibited or restricted without additional permissions e.g. airports, Hyde Park, military bases|
|GVC||General Visual Line of Site Certificate||Advanced certification required to obtain Operational Authorisation from the CAA|
|NATS||National Air Traffic Services||The main navigation services provider in the UK - for operations in FRZs we speak to NATS|
|NSF||Non-Standard Flight||The categorization of drone flights in FRZs according to NATS - when we submit our requests we fill out an NSF Application|
|OA||Operational Authorisation||Permissions issued by the CAA which enable operations to be carried out in the new 'Specified' or medium risk category|
|PfCO||Permission for Commercial Operation||Required for operators to fly commercially before 31/12/20. Drone pilots no longer require 'authorisation' to fly commercially but are subject to operational categories which require different levels of qualifications|
|SDR||Special Drawing Rights||A unit of account commissioned by the International Monetary Fund. 750k SDR equate to approximately £750k and this is the minimum amount required for any commercial public liability insurance for drone operations|
|UAS||Unmanned Aerial System||Definition of most drones under the new regulations|
|UAV||Unmanned Aerial Vehicle||Popular term for drones|