WE’RE AERIALVIEWOur Approach. Planning, drone permissions and safety.

Our commercial drone operations began in 2015. Get an understanding of how we do things – from the client brief to our RAMS documentation, on-site safety to supplying the final deliverables.

CAA PfCO COMMERCIAL OPERATORSafety, our 1st Priority

From the initial client briefings to task planning, risk assessments & our method statement (RAMS), on-site surveys, team communication and of course the actual task itself – safety is at the core of all our decision making. We completed our drone training, flight assessments and certification in 2015 when the drone industry was still in its infancy, since this time we’ve evolved our workflows, processes and equipments to ensure we go about things in the very best way possible.

All drone operators need to be given permissions by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) before they can operate commercially, be insured, etc. This involves preparing an Operations Manual detailing every aspect of our procedures, safety protocols, equipment and documentation.

We wrote this document from scratch and the process took several months to complete, but we were commended on the standard of the finished manual and our methodology. Many drone operators now use off the shelf manual templates, but we think its a valuable exercise and ensures the drone operator fully appreciates and understands every aspect of the operations and more importantly how to operate safety.

We keep our Operations Manual updated and it is reviewed each year by the CAA and reflects how we work along with the latest rules, regulations & legislation, plus overviews of our current processes and equipment. In the six years since we became commercial drone operators, we have developed a robust and proven working practise and follow a clearly defined framework throughout, details of which we’ve outlined below.

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1. Certification & Insurance

At the end of 2020, the CAA introduce a number of changes related to how and where and what type of drones can operated within the UK and by whom (to match similar legislation introducted across the EU).

Prior to 31st December 2020, commercial drone operators required an active PfCO (Permission for Commercial Operations), this was stopped and is no longer valid, it was replaced with an ‘Operational Authorisation‘. Drone operators with an Operational Authorisation retain the same permissions as the now defunct PfCO and still need to maintain an Operations Manual and renew this annually with the CAA.

Moving forward, the CAA has introduced remote pilot competency qualifications, these are the General Visual Line Of Sight Certificate (GVC) and A2 Certificate of Competency (A2CoC) which provide drone operators different types of flying permission based on the type and weight of a drone, where and over what they’re flying it, and so on. It’s complicated and so we won’t go into details here, but keep an eye on our blog where we’ll be covering this in a lot more detail soon.

We are currently certified and insured to operate drones up to 25kg with the following CAA qualifications: Operational Authorisation, General Visual Line Of Sight Certificate (GVC) and the A2 Certificate of Competency (A2CoC). We have also completed training and are certified for Night Flights and are a Drone Safe Register OSC (Operational Safety Case) drone operator which enables us to plan and operate with enhanced distances within our Operational Authorisation: 10m take-off/landing distance from uninvolved persons, extended line of sight flights to 1000m and 75m flights away from large public gatherings.

Drone insurance – regardless of the certificate or permissions a drone operator currently holds, they must hold valid insurance (which is fully compliant with EC 785/2004) if they to operate commercially. We use CoverDrone for our drone insurance cover and carry £5 million Public Liability Insurance by default, this can increase this if required, just ask. All of our insurance and flight permission documentation will be supplied to you within our RAMS document (Risk Assessment and Method Statement) during the project planning and preparation stages.

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2. A Good Project Brief

Our projects general start with a discussion about your project, we talk to you about your objectives, requirements along with the deliverables and timeframes. We then prepare a written project brief and proposal for the work which clearly outlines the scope of the work, a breakdown of the tasks involved along with their associated costs and a list of project deliverables. Once signed off, we’ll schedule in the work ready to get started.

3. Project Planning & Preparation

It’d be lovely just to be able to fly a drone anywhere, anytime, but unfortunately that’s just not possible and without careful planning and situational awareness, drones have the potential to cause serious damage and disruption to those nearby – for example distracting the driver of a vehicle who’s then involved in an accident.

We have a fairly involved planning and preparation process that see us create a RAMS document for every task – Risk Assessment & Method Statement. It’s a comprehensive documents that enables us to review and document all aspects of the task, during which we’ll look into the following:

  • Site background & purpose of task
  • Sequence of works
  • Deliverables
  • Control of the activity risks
  • Risk assessment summary (Identified hazards, associated risk, action & outcome)
  • Control of site during flight
  • Resources – equipment, cameras/payloads, personnel
  • Permits/documentation – permissions, insurance, notifications
  • Locations – site reviews, airspace classification, flight plans, access
  • Communication and contact details
  • Emergency arrangements
  • Site facilities and welfare
  • On-site briefing – pilots and spotters brief, flight plan, shot list

We’ll provide you with a copy of our RAMS document along with our CAA permissions, certification and insurance cover several days before the task to review. We’ll also monitor the weather and other factors that could impact the task and keep you informed should we need to change plans or reschedule.

4. On-Site, Completing The Task

On the day of the task, we conduct an on-site survey in accordance with our CAA approved Operations Manual, this is completed prior to flight operations commencing to ensure a safe work environment. We then brief our team, review the planned flights, deliverables, ground communication and task safety.

Imagery quality checks and conducted throughout the task to ensure everything is going to plan and being captured as expected. We can also provide real-time viewing of what we’re filming both on-site and remotely if required.

5. Deliverables

Depending on the nature of the job, we may be able to supply deliverables on-site or shortly afterwards. If post production work is required, for example clean up edits or colour correction are typically supplied within 48hrs, surveys and inspections a little longer, but this will be discussed within the project planning and documented with the RAMS document.


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Call us on 0800 949 4500 or email hello@aerialview.info

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