So a drone pilot needs to have two things in order to be able to commercially fly as a legal operator
- CAA Permission – this is a non-negotiable condition of flying commercially. Hobbyists don’t need to have it but if you’re working for a reward whether this is cash or another substantial benefit, then you have to have permission from the Civil Aviation Authority. You’ll sometimes see it referred to as PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operation) and it means that the pilot has completed all the steps to get their permission certificate. This is a complicated process involving training, assessment, creation of an operations manual, and a theoretical exam and it needs to be reapplied every year to make sure that the business is operating responsibly and keeping up with any changes in the law. A legal operator will have a certificate that they will be able to show you and you can also double-check on the CAA website which has a list of current PfCO holders.
- Commercial Insurance – Once a pilot has their CAA permission, they must also hold valid and current commercial insurance. This is purchased from any number of drone insurance specialists and so each certificate might look a little different but you should definitely ask to see theirs and check that it is valid for your flight date.
Legal drone pilots will be used to being asked for these documents and will probably even insist that you take a look at them if you are booking them. So our advice would be to be very wary of any drone operator that you speak to who puts any barriers in the way of you seeing these vital pieces of paper. Illegal operators are flying outside of the law so there’s no way of knowing what other safety measures that they are willing to overlook.
Drone Media Imaging, of course, is a fully licensed operator and we’re very happy to talk to you about your drone photography and videography needs, whatever they may be – from house portraits to commercial thermal imaging so just get in touch to talk over your requirements.