What should I consider when hiring a drone operator?

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

Finding a drone operator is, in many ways, very different from hiring any other professional in their field. Going by recommendation and reputation can get you some of the way, but there are many legalities that need to also be considered. The days when you could ask a friend with a drone to produce your aerial footage are long gone, and as the UAV industry becomes more professional there will be more scrutiny placed on the hiring mechanisms used by those who are working with professional UAV operators.


In this blog entry, we decided that we would lay out exactly what it is that you need to see from your potential operator, in order for the to be safe and legal.

1. Permissions from the Civil Aviation Authority.


Permissions from the CAA, are not much to look at. They look like a photocopied sheet of A4, but what they mean is that your operator has qualified and met the minimum safety criteria necessary to have ‘Permission for Commercial Operation’ awarded from the CAA. To do this they will have passed a ground school test with a mark greater than 75%, produced a detailed operational safety manual which has been scrutinised and approved and also passed a two-hour flight examination.


2. Insurance that meets EC 785/2004


You chosen partner must be able to present you with an insurance certificate that meets these criteria. You should also ask what their level of cover may be, and decide if it is suitable for your project. Typical levels of cover can range from £1,000,000 upwards. Is the level of liability of your chosen operator sufficient? Consider carefully!


3. Do they know their subject matter?


Is your provider knowledgeable on where they can, and cannot fly? Are they asking you questions about the area where the project is to take place, public access, what file formats you require?

4. Are their names on the list!


If your names not down, you’re not coming in! The CAA produces a list of PFCO holders and updates it once a month. If your supplier is genuine they will be on it, if they are not then they won't. The only circumstances they will not be is if they are newly qualified. And if that is the case you can call the CAA drone line and check. You can check the list by clicking here



This is a practical list. You should also consider your gut feeling, and if it says walk away, then do! And if you have any questions on any of the above, as always just call us on 01353 771459!



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