Most of the typical questions that Clients have are listed below. However, there’s always the one thing we haven’t thought of which needs answering. So, if you can’t find what you’re looking for in this section, just give us a call or email us, and we’ll get back to you as quickly as possible.
Do you need a licence for the UAV?
The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) assesses every commercial UAV operator through their BNUC-S licence scheme, before issuing a licence to conduct commercial aerial work. A key element of the licence is the production and availability of an Operations Manual (OM), which has to be approved by the CAA, and which has to be regularly updated, before the CAA will issue a licence (which has to be renewed every year). The OM explains how we conduct our Risk Assessments prior to starting work on an assignment, and how we plan our flights to ensure safe operations whilst on site.
- Our BNUC-S Licence No is: 0673-14-11-02
- Our Pilot in Command Registration Number for CAA Permissions is 667
Do you need insurance?
Yes. We carry Public Liability Insurance of £10 million, and all our equipment is fully insured.
Where can you fly?
The CAA imposes strict rules to ensure public safety, and we are bound by these rules under our licence conditions. We are granted permission to operate subject to the UAV being flown:
- At a height of 125 metres maximum from the Pilot
- No further than 500 metres from the Pilot as measured along the ground
- Outside of 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons
- Outside of 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle, or structure which is not under our direct control
The Pilot has to be in visible contact with the UAV at all times. Normally, the maximum radius is about 300m from the pilot and, even at that distance, the UAV is quite a small speck in the sky. We can also pilot from a moving vehicle to extend its range. The radio range for the controls is more than 2km.
We are strictly governed by the statement: “Under our Control”. Although these rules may seem restrictive, we can fly closer to people and property if they are under our control in accordance with our operating procedures.
Where appropriate, we require approval from the landowner for the take-off and landing site(s).
These are our standard permissions but these can be negotiated with the CAA with the appropriate Risk Assessments. The CAA is willing to consider granting specific permissions and exemptions in certain circumstances. These situations require a thorough Risk Assessment and Site Survey, and require plenty of notice and planning.
Are UAVs safe?
Yes, they are completely safe when handled by a fully trained Pilot. We take every precaution to ensure any risk is at an acceptable level before we start. This includes:
- Pre-site survey – We do this to ensure we can safely fly at the location and that there are no hazards that will cause us concern. This consists of checking aviation charts for airspace, NOTAMS (Notice To Air Men) to see if any manned aviation activities are taking place in the area, Google Earth, local press in case of any events nearby, weather and weather warnings.
- On-site survey – This is conducted on the day; if we have identified anything in the pre-site survey that causes us concern, we will make a prior on-site assessment. This will back up our pre-site survey findings.
- Safety checks – These are carried out before we fly, so that we can be confident that the equipment is capable of undertaking any flight in a safe manner.
- Fail safes – The UAVs are fitted with several fail safe systems. In the event of a radio transmitter failure, the UAV will independently return and land itself at its take off point. Should a motor fail on our 8 rotor DJI S1000, we are still able to control and land it safely. We can initiate the fail safes at any time to return the UAV to its landing area.
- Emergency procedures – As part of our ongoing training and keeping up to date, we regularly practice our emergency procedures so that, in the unlikely event of a system failure or any other unforeseen/unexpected situation, (such as a sudden change in the weather) we remain calm and in control.
- Safety in general - We will never fly if it is not safe to do so. We will never compromise the safety of others to get the “best shot”, and the final decision remains with the Pilot in Charge.
Can you provide a quote for your services without visiting the shoot location?
Most of the time, details of what is required and where the shoot is to take place will be enough for us to give you an initial estimate. We charge our services out on a daily or half daily rate, plus reasonable travel and accommodation expenses. Whilst the price for every job is discussed and agreed separately, we appreciate that, sometimes, you may just want to get a feel for what a job may cost. Our rates start at £450 for half a day’s work, and will be determined by length and type of assignment and equipment used.
How long can a UAV fly for?
One set of batteries usually lasts around 10-12 minutes, and we have several sets in our equipment. We can also re-charge batteries on site.
How good is the quality of the film and photographs you shoot?
The quality of the output is determined by the type of camera we use. Our most sophisticated camera is the Panasonic GH4, recognised as being the best for use in combination with a UAV. With this camera, we produce excellent 4K (ultra high definition) and 1080P images. We also have three GoPro Hero Black cameras and a 360 degree camera, all of which produce high quality shots. Many of the videos in our Showreel section were shot with the GoPros.
We achieve extremely stable imagery by using state of the art brushless cushioned gimbals that keep the cameras perfectly level and stabilised for ultra smooth video capture.
What flexibility do you have to change camera angles?
We can select whatever angles are necessary by panning and tilting the camera to get the best shots. Our equipment provides a live video feed to the ground, enabling the Pilot and/or Client to position the camera remotely to capture the subject in the shot. Our filming can be viewed in real time.
Can we use our own cameras?
We prefer to use our own equipment because a) we are familiar with it, and b) we only use top of the range cameras, like the Panasonic GH4. The gimbals we use are designed specifically for the one camera so, in any case, other cameras may not fit properly.
Are there any weather conditions which could prevent you from flying?
Unfortunately, we have no control over the weather (especially in the UK)! We realise that a cancelled or postponed shoot can have financial repercussions for both the Client and ourselves, so we do everything possible to minimise this happening. We study weather charts and forecasts, both leading up to the assignment, and just before we leave. However, there are certain limitations, as follows:
We won’t normally fly in rain or snow, as these can damage our equipment, especially the cameras. In any case, water on the lenses will adversely affect the quality of the imagery.
The more still the conditions, the better we like it, as we know the output will be fantastic. We can fly in windy conditions as long as the wind is at less than 20mph. However, anything over 10mph makes it very difficult to achieve a steady shot.
24 hours before we are due to film, and before we actually set off, we will give you a “Go” or “No Go” decision, based on the most up to date weather forecast for the location in question. If it’s a “No Go”, we’ll not charge you, and we’ll simply rearrange the shoot.
Can you fly off shore?
We are fully proficient and insured to fly off shore, either by using land based take off and landing sites, or by launching from a boat (e.g. a rib). Our Chief Pilot, Adam, is a qualified sailor, so you can rest assured that he’ll deliver this kind of assignment without being sea-sick!
Can you fly indoors?
Yes, provided we have enough space. Because our pilots are highly trained and fully qualified, they are able to maintain full control of the UAV even in restricted places.