• Ian Titchener

It might be possible, but it might not be safe!

One of the things I love about my job as a commercial drone pilot is the many, varied and diverse types of client that we seem to attract. From television production companies to motorcycle clubs to surveyors, there just isn’t a typical type of client. All projects are as different as the people who place them. But the one thing that is common to many is the lack of knowledge of the limitation to what drone pilots can safely and legally do. So, if you might be thinking of hiring a drone pilot, here are some things that you might want to think about before your operator arrives on site!


What is it you want to achieve?

  • Is your project aiming to sell something? 

  • What aspects of that something do you wish to capture on camera?

  • What is it you want, video or stills? How much of each?

Having answers to questions like this will help your drone pilot plan your shoot down to specific types of path, optimising their time and ensuring that you get exactly the shot that you are after. It will also enable them to tell you in advance, if it is both safe and legal to carry out the types of shot that you are looking for, and also if they will need to take any measures to mitigate any risks to health or safety, they may even be able to tell you in advance if they will not be able to carry out a particular shot.


The Location


Location is all important but goes beyond being just about the shot. For your drone pilot, the location can mean the difference between a wasted drive and a productive day. Have a look at your location:


Is it in a built-up area such as a residential street with terraced houses? A drone pilot can only fly within 30 M or any person, property or vehicle not under their control at take off and 50M at all other times. Under control means there is unlikely to be any incursion from the public, road traffic or residents. 


Do you have land-owners permission? Are you the landowner? If not your drone operator will need the landowners’ permission to operate before they can carry out any work.


The weather: Drones cannot fly in high wind or rain. Bigger drones can fly in stronger winds, but might not be suitable for inner city locations. Check the forecast, and be aware that your agreed date may need to move due to meteorological factors which are beyond the control if your pilot! Bear in mind that higher locations and locales near to the coast are generally windier than inland locations. Your provider should monitor the weather and will let you know whether your date looks solid or shaky


The end result


Who is doing the editing? Many people will assume that their drone pilot will be providing edited footage, 9/10 they do not, and will normally bring somebody in with this specific skill set, normally at an extra cost. If you are doing the editing yourself, or you know somebody who is, make sure you ask what format they would like the files to be delivered in. This can save you a lot of time and a lot of money in the long run.


Read the T's and C's


What happens if it rains on my shoot day?

My provider hasn't turned up? What now

What if i haven't told my provider something i should have and they cant fly?


If you don't know the answer to these questions and your paying a large some of money for their services, is it sensible to ignore the terms or the agreement you're entering into?



I hope this has been helpful, as always if you have any questions please do give us a call on 01353 771459

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