A drone for commercial UAV filming

An interview with Alan Perrin, Cambridge UAV Academy Instructor and Assessor – as seen in the Summer 2016 edition of Pro Moviemaker Magazine.


What kinds of restrictions might I face in terms of where I can film if I want to undertake commercial UAV filming?

“It would seem that when operating a UAV, nothing could be simpler. To the uninitiated, there’s nothing wrong with unpacking your new drone in the street or park and simply flying it around taking pictures or video.

The truth, however, is very different and often misunderstood!  Even hobbyist use comes under the Air Navigation Order (ANO, with articles 166 and 167 of the ANO 2009** outlining what must be done, especially with regard to the safe distance the UAV must be away from persons, vehicles or buildings.”

“When considering commercial use of your UAV, the restrictions and responsibilities increase considerably. Remember, anyone earning money from a UAV in the UK must have a permit from the CAA, a PFAW*. This is the first step to commercial use.”

“Restrictions can take many forms. Local authority restrictions could be by-laws prohibiting the flight of drones or the requirement to have a film licence in place before permission is granted to operate in a public area.

Flight near busy traffic is restricted and traffic marshalling may be necessary, maybe with involvement from the local police if a road closure is required. Also, if a drone has a camera or another sensor fitted to it, its use has the potential to be covered under the Data Protection Act, another restriction to be considered.

Aviation restrictions are most important; after all, we’re flying in airspace and pilots must be aware of all restricted or prohibited areas, permanent or temporary, that are in place where they want to fly. Many aviation restrictions can be temporary, lasting just a day or even hours but it’s important that we mustn’t fly if a restriction is in place. Knowing how to check this information is an important part of the training to be qualified.”

**Please note that the references to ANO 2009 no longer stand as the new ANO 2016 came into force in August this year. Articles 166 and 167 have been renumbered to 94 and 95.

*A PFAW is now Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO).

For more information, contact us on 01480 493 800 (Option 2).

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