April 2017: Aerial Video work

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This year we decided not to renew the Permission For Aerial Work (PFAW) which we have held for the past 2 years.

The PFAW  allowed us to undertake commercial work for clients with our drone.  It was interesting while it lasted, but most of the work we did do was in 2015, during 2016 we only used the drone commercially once.  As it costs a good deal to keep the Permission and the required insurance indemnity alive, we decided it just wasn't worth it.

Gaining a PFAW takes quite a bit of effort. Most would-be operators attend a 2 or 3 day course ending in a written exam. After that an Operations Manual has to be written setting out in minute detail how the drone will be operated safely.  This has to be submitted to and approved by the CAA.  Then there is a practical flight test, during which the operator demonstrates that they can carry out the operations in the manual.  There is then a lengthy wait whilst the CAA approves the application and issues the PFAW.  The whole process took us 5 months and cost in the region of £2k, in addition to the cost of the drone and associated equipment and the insurance.  In all it cost us around £5k to become operational.

Perhaps it's not surprising that many buy a drone for under £1k and just start hiring themselves out.

Whilst professional drone operators continue to make wonderful films which are all over film and TV, there are also masses of amateurs out there carrying out paid work, all quite illegally. They are risking prosecution for themselves, although there so many of them that the CAA is very unlikely to take proceedings against them except in really flagrant cases.  They are also risking the reputation of the companies they are working for.  

Visit the ARPAS UK website to learn more about safe, legal drone use