If you are looking at hiring a drone operator for any commercial reason, then you will see that drone operators need to be licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority. This is the legal requirement in the UK and it’s vital that anyone that you hire to carry out work on your behalf meets this criteria.
Basically the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) used to give each operator Permission for Aerial Work – PfAW. This permission has just been renamed as Permission for Commercial Operations – PfCO – but I’m sure you’ll see both terms used on operator’s websites. This means that the operator has to show and understanding of aviation law and safety procedures, and complete a practical assessment to demonstrate their competency in flying their vehicle. They also have to submit a comprehensive Operations Manual which must be renewed, updated and resubmitted on a yearly basis. It’s a lengthy process to gain the CAA approval and it should be – after all, drones are capable to damage to people, other aerial vehicles and property if they improperly deployed by unqualified or reckless pilots.
So when you see that your drone operator is Licensed, you can be sure that they have worked hard to obtain this qualification and will stick to the highest standards in order to retain it.