Why would we want to use drones in our business?
Drone technology is now extremely sophisticated and there are many uses for drones which would enable your business to deliver more value, faster and safer. The use of drones extends far beyond photography and videography. The images from drones can be used to create centimetre accurate 2d and 3d models of landscapes and buildings. These models can be used for many purposes such as measuring progress on construction sites, calculating thermal properties of buildings and volumetric measurements for landfills and quarries. We run a Concepts and Innovation Workshop to help you understand how to make drones work for your business.
We are thinking about using drones, can you help us?
Absolutely – please get in touch and we will be very happy to discuss your potential project and answer any questions. We also run a Concepts and Innovation Workshop that would be a great way to kick off your project
What is a PfCO?
A Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) is the legal document you need to operate a drone commercially in UK airspace. Until August 2016 this was known as a Permission for Aerial Work (PFAW). To obtain a PfCO the drone operator must complete a training course and pass a theory exam and practical assessment.
Do I need to use a PfCO Operator?
The short answer is yes if you wish to hire a drone operator for commercial work. An operator without a PfCO cannot legally fly commercially and won’t have public liability insurance cover.
Do you carry insurance for your operations?
Yes. We have Public Liability Insurance that meets the CAA EC 785/2004 requirement. We are able to increase the insurance cover if necessary to meet specific customer requirements. You should always ask to see evidence of appropriate commercial insurance prior to any flight.
Are you able to fly in any location?
Some areas are more straightforward than others. For example, flying in the proximity of airports or in Central London requires special permissions that need to be obtained in advance. We will identify permissions that are required when we carry out our initial feasibility review.
Do you need permission from the landowner?
Permission is required from the landowner to take off and land on their property. Permission is not required to overfly property or land as long as the CAA rules are adhered to – we need to overfly at a height of over 50m.
How long can drones fly?
This is dependent on a number of factors such as the individual drone, weather conditions and the equipment the drone is carrying. Generally, a battery will enable a flight of between 20-30 minutes.
How far can drones fly?
Drones can fly a considerable distance from the remote control unit these days without a loss of signal. However, the CAA mandates that drones must be operated within visual line of sight (VLOS) which extends to a maximum of 500m horizontally from the pilot. The drone must also not be flown higher than 400ft above ground level. Visual line of sight depends on a number of practical factors such as the weather and the size of the drone.
Can you fly in built up areas?
Yes – the Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) enables us to operate in congested areas. There are a number of requirements that we can discuss with you when considering a project. We follow the CAA risk based assessment approach and can generally find a way to safely operate.
Are drones safe?
Yes – commercial drones are very sophisticated and are fitted with failsafe systems such as an automated return to home function. As professional pilots, we follow approved checklists and monitor inflight performance of the drone. Our pilots are trained how to handle emergencies and we carry out a thorough risk assessment and site survey before take-off to ensure that all foreseeable risks have been reduced. Safety is our prime consideration and we will not fly if we believe there is any danger to people or property.