Last year we decided that using a drone to bolster our surveying services would be a good idea, so we set about applying for a license. We knew that the application and training process wouldn’t be a walk in the park, but nothing really prepared us for the time, effort and investment we would have to make in order to get our approval from the Civil Aviation Authority.
As we want to fly our drone commercially (in other words for a fee) then we have to prove that we are not only competent to fly a drone, but that we are willing to take on the responsibility of being in charge of a UAV and deciding whether or not it is safe to fly without being a danger to anyone or anything in the area.
The training we undertook included theoretical and practical exams, hours of flying time and awareness tests. We had to complete a complex operations manual and seek approval from the CAA, and only then were we able to achieve our Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO). Since then we have adopted parts of the ops manual into our current risk assessments that we have for every job we do, so we are constantly adapting our processes and weighing up factors such as weather and safe launch areas for every flight.
So how do you go about finding a CAA approved Drone Pilot?
Anyone that flies a drone for ‘commercial gain’, is breaking the law if they do not have the right license. Without this they cannot obtain the right insurance, so if anyone gets hurt in the process then there is no policy in place to cover the unthinkable. We are accredited and insured, anyone who can’t say the same is not legally allowed to fly.
A commercial pilot will be listed with the CAA so their website is the best place to look, or you can search the Drone Safe Register by location to find your local pilot.
Once you find a pilot and drop them a line, you should expect them to ask you a number of questions about your project, as they will be deciding whether or not they can take it on. Once they have established the type of location, the risks, the equipment they might use and the legal requirements, only then will they be able to send you a quote.
Taking responsibility for their own equipment and the safety of anyone in the immediate vicinity should be top of your drone pilot’s list, so choose one who is compliant, safe and accredited.
If you have a project in mind that may benefit from drone input, get in touch with us today on 01789 764420.
Grantham Coates Surveys
Land, Engineering & Measured Building Surveyors
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