- Is Orbit images licenced by the CAA?
Yes - Orbit Images has the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) "Permission for Aerial Work" PfCO which means, as a licensed commercial operator of UAV's (unmanned aerial vehicles), I am governed and regulated by the CAA.
The Civil Aviation PfCO is mandatory for anyone flying drones for commercial use in the UK. I am happy to show you my approvals.
- Is Orbit Images insured?
Yes - Orbit Images is fully insured against injury and damage for each flight with £1 million public liability to fly at altitudes of up to 400 feet.
- Can anyone sell pictures and videos they have taken with their drone?
No. In order to legally take aerial photographs from unmanned platforms for commercial purposes, the operator has to hold a Permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (PfCO). To achieve this Permission, the operator has to provide evidence of pilot competence, sample risk assessments and method statements, and evidence of adequate insurance cover.
If a company claiming to sell aerial photographs cannot produce their CAA Permission on demand then they are operating illegally.
- Are there any legal restrictions on where you can fly the drone?
Yes, the Civil Aviation Authority has strict regulations on where unmanned helicopters or 'drones' can be flown.
The main operational conditions for a small unmanned aircraft SUA are:
- Maintaining a distance of 50m from people and property not in control of the pilot.
- During take off and landing maintain a distance of 30m from people and property not in control of the pilot.
- Permission of the landowner to take off and land.
- Directly overhead or within a minimum distance of 150m from an open air assembly of over 1000 people.
- Maximum height of 400ft above ground level.
- Maintain visual line of sight of the SUA to a maximum distance of 500m.
- During daylight hours, so that you can clearly see the SUA and take avoiding action from other air users if required.
- Outside of controlled airspace.
- Restrictions and rules apply to flying near an airport and aerodrome.
I can fly close to buildings and people when I have consent of the owner and the people in close proximity have been briefed and are under the control of the pilot.
This allows us to do close survey work of building, roofs, building sites, hotels etc.
- Can you fly the drone in built up areas?
The Civil Aviation Authority states that camera-equipped drones must not be flown within 150m of a congested area or large group of people, such as a sporting event or concert.
Permissions may be sought from the CAA for a particular project which involves operations in these scenarios, but the costs involved in gaining such permissions may not make the project financially viable.
- Can you fly indoors?
Yes, I can fly indoors and using my smallest drone means that it is possible to fly within restricted space.
My drones are battery powered with electric motors so there is no worry about polluting the environment. The dynamics of flying indoors are different. The construction and materials in the building can affect how the drone UAV flies.
95% of the time there are no issues with flying indoors but safety is my number one priority. Only a short flight test can give me the final answer.
- Can you fly a drone in windy and rainy conditions?
No. Wind speeds over about 15-20mph will reduce the stability of the drone, and the resulting photographs / videos may suffer as a result.
Rain would also prevent a flight from taking place as the drone is not designed to fly in rainy conditions and if it did, there would be a safety issue due to electronic failure.
- What happens if there is bad weather on the day of the project?
The weather forecast is monitored 5 days in advance of any shoot. If the signs are not good, I talk to the client 48 hours prior to the shoot.
If we both decide to stay with the day and I have bad weather, I will wait on site as long as possible in the hope of a break in the weather.
If I have to re-schedule a date because of weather, the booking deposit is transferred to the new date.
- What drones do you use?
I use the DJI Phantom 4 which has up to 4K resolution video and 12.4 pixels for still photography.
I also use the Mavic Pro whose size and quieter operation is useful for projects where space is restricted (internal buildings, woodland etc.) or when for when filming close-ups on people or animals.
- What resolution does the camera use?
A Phantom 4 pilot and Mavic Pro Pilot can record in one of five video resolutions.
Ranges start at 1280×720 pixels (720p), considered basic High-Definition (HD), and end at 4096×2160 pixels (2160p), consider Ultra HD or 4K.
- How long can the drone fly for?
The maximum flight time on a single battery in normal conditions is up to 24 minutes. On average, I fly up to 20 minutes before landing and changing the battery.
I carry 2 spare pre-charged batteries on each shoot. It only takes a few minutes to change the battery and get back in air.
- Copyright and Use of Material
Orbit Images retains the copyright of all aerial photography and filmed content.
My clients have full use of all photography and filmed material for their own business promotion, media, print, marketing, advertising and website use. Clients are not permitted to sell the material or allow general 3rd parties to use it without prior written agreement with Orbit Images.
Orbit Images promotes its business and services via a diverse combination of media channels. I reserve the right to use any video footage or photograph still images for my own PR purposes, on my website, in a showreel, in printed material and on social media.
With regard to client confidentiality and any embargo provisions, Orbit Images agrees not use any video footage or photographs until the client has published the material.
I also reserve the right to supply video footage and photographs to stock libraries at a later date.