We receive many questions about what one can do and otherwise when using drones, so we have created an easy to use FAQ section with general information about ourselves and our services. Please review the section below before reaching out to us. If you still cannot find your question listed, use the contact form, and we will get back to you as soon as we can.
Does the CAA licence your activity?
Yes, we have the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) approval, which means that the CAA regulates us as a licensed commercial operator of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“UAV”). The CAA permission is mandatory for anyone flying drones for commercial applications in the UK. If sought, we will produce our certificates for inspection, although CAA also publishes this information online. For other European Community countries, different requirements will be in effect governed by other authorities. Our partners from overseas will provide you with their certificates and accreditations. If you are enquiring about a non-UK project, please reach out, and we will advise you on our recommended regional partner.
Can you fly in windy or rainy conditions?
Technically we can only operate in the wind gusting of up to 15 mph. Our advanced camera gimbal system gives very smooth shots in winds of up to about 10 mph. However, we cannot operate our drones in rain or snow conditions. This limitation is because flying in such environments may affect the drone, which might become unstable and hazardous for those on the premises, including neighbours or bypassers.
Can you fly in freezing weather?
Our drones will technically fly in temperatures from 0°C to 40°C. We have to ensure that the battery packs are heated and kept warm before flying in chilling weather. Freezing temperatures will reduce their autonomy by up to 50% of the approximately 25 minutes maximum drone flight time. These are technical particulars our pilots are well-aware of and will inform you during the day of the operation.
What happens to my money if there is bad weather on the day?
We monitor the weather prediction three days ahead of each operation. If we believe the weather will not be desirable on the day of the shoot, we will reach out to our client as early as practicable before the event. If both parties consent to wait for the bad weather to clear, our pilots will be happy to standby on the site, hoping for a break in the bad weather. If we have to reschedule a date because of the bad weather, we will transfer your reservation deposit to the new date. In our line of business, the weather is a known business risk in the UK, so we are trying to be as adaptable as possible to support that.
Do you lease your drones to third parties?
No, we only operate our drones along with our experienced and qualified pilots. We are always concerned with how secure our drones are, and if we were to lease them to third parties, we will open ourselves to risks and invalidate our insurance. We record each Unmanned Aerial Vehicle with the CAA, and we certify and licence each pilot with the CAA as described in this FAQ.
Can I have a demonstration flight?
We are happy to offer a short presentation flight during one of our site visits. However, similar to the operational flight, we must comply with the CAA requirements set out broadly in this FAQ, and we must also ensure we choose the right time and the right weather conditions for the initial assessment.
Can you fly complex flight patterns?
Yes, we have the equivalent of the traditional autopilot or clever pre-defined flight manoeuvres, and we can use them to fly planned flight patterns for specific commercial applications. It is essential that you tell us what you’re trying to get out of the flight operation (artwork, surveying, RAW photographs, small-sized videos), and we will assess and provide a suitable solution. It might be that we will recommend you to one of our UK-based partners if you think you will get more out of their equipment.
Are drones better than helicopters?
Drones and helicopters would provide you with different aerial footage and effects. Drones can fly closer to the subject due to their smaller size, are less intrusive, can be deployed faster depending on the weather and photo or video production requirements. Using drones costs only a portion compared to chartering a helicopter and a pilot.
Can you fly close to people and buildings?
The short answer at a high level is yes; we can fly close to structures and people when we have the owner’s permission (i.e. landowner or landlord, and any neighbouring units), and the people nearby have been briefed and are under the authority or involved with the pilot. These enablers allow us to do close survey work of building, roofs, building sites, hotels and golf courses. Each site is complex, and this FAQ does not provide an exhaustive list of scenarios, so please reach out to us and send us details about your operation. We will be happy to provide you with a list of approvals and requirements that would make a potential flight operation safe, as per CAA requirements.
Are your flights insured?
Our insurance covers us against injury and damage for each operation with £1m public liability. Our insurance requires that we comply with CAA requirements, such as flying at an altitude of not more than 120m. Our pilots are well-aware of these requirements, so please trust their guidance when they advise on what manoeuvres we can operate.
Does the CAA approve your pilots?
Yes, all our pilots are experienced and have passed the CAA-approved evaluations. They hold the A2 Certificate of Competency introduced by the CAA in January 2021. We are actively seeking to expand our team and capabilities; therefore, we will be adding additional competencies in the future.
How high can your drones fly?
Under CAA regulations, we can fly from ground level up to a maximum elevation of 120m (vertical distance). The crewed aircraft airspace starts from ~152m, which leaves 30m roughly as the separation zone. Our pilots will be well aware of what restrictions affect your project and will inform you of them. In the UK, it is a criminal offence to fly drones above 120m.
How long can you fly?
The maximum flight time on an individual battery in average temperature conditions is up to 30 minutes. This standard depends on the drone type as well. The colder the weather, the higher the likelihood that the battery life decreases. In real life, we fly up to 22 minutes before having to land to replace the battery. We carry spare pre-charged batteries on each operation, and it takes only a few minutes to charge it and get back in the air. Therefore, we can fly all day with minimal interruption. Occasionally our pilots might also have electrical power sets to charge batteries on-site, using car plugs or power sockets. We pay attention to the maintenance aspects when charging batteries because it influences their life span.
Can you fly indoors, such as inside my offices?
Yes, we can fly indoors, including warehouses, workshops or large offices, but we need space. We power our drones using electric motors; therefore, pollution is not a factor of concern. However, the dynamics of flying indoors and correlated risks are different, given there might be restrictive satellite coverage. The structure and materials in the building can affect how the drone responds, and we will learn the particulars of each building by surveying and testing it during our initial checks. Almost always, we find no issues with flying indoors, but safety is always our priority, as set out in this FAQ.
Can I see the film as you are recording it using the drone?
Yes, we stream the aerial footage at an acceptable video quality in real-time to the pilot’s remote control. This feature allows the pilot on the ground to assess the camera inclination angle, framing, light specifications and drone flight path as we fly to get the best shots for you. You can ask the pilot that he/she shows you what we are recording. Please note that our pilots carefully consider many factors and managing them using the remote controller whilst flying a drone. Please appreciate that and do not disrupt our pilots whilst they are operating.
What are your service costs?
Our prices will vary depending on the venue’s position and your aerial photographing or video recording capability you require. The complexity of the operation and the associated risks are also factors we consider in our pricing model. We published a high-level price guideline on our website. Each job is unique, and because CAA regulations cover all aerial photography drone flights as set out in this FAQ, we must assess each operation based on its complexity. We work with partners in the European Community for overseas projects. They will also comply with their local laws and regulations. We carry out thorough pre-flight surveys before sending you a final quote, including assessing any local flight restrictions that we must consider.
What is your drone range and speed?
The maximum airspeed of our drones is just over 50mph assuming a perpendicular wind speed of 0mph. Our total range limit authorised by the CAA is 500m; however, the requirement is that the pilot maintains a visible line of sight to the drone, which requires not to have any interference between the pilot and the UAV and observe clear weather. These conditions are essential to maintain the safety of the airspace, and failing to comply with them amounts to a criminal offence. Our maximum allowed elevation by the CAA is 120m, as set out in this FAQ.
How many people will you dispatch for an operation?
The number of staff allocated depends on the complexity of the operation and cannot be prescribed in the FAQ. In most cases, a single pilot would suffice. For complex flight operations, we deploy two members. For the latter, it might be that one manages the drone whilst the other operates the camera. In other cases, particularly when clients have just a few minutes to shoot valuable materials, you can request two pilots with two drones to make the most of both aerial video and aerial photographic shots.
Does this FAQ reflect our terms and conditions?
For the most part, yes, most of the information provided on this page amounts to our terms of services. The best thing is to reach out to us, and we will provide particularised details about our offering.
Does this FAQ contain an exhaustive list of questions?
No, it does not; if your question is not listed above, please use the contact form to reach out to our teams, and we will be delighted to answer any additional questions.