I’m always aware that there are a few other companies about who provide similar aerial photography services to those that HexCam provide. That is the great thing about operating in a new, exciting, growing industry.
As a result you will find competitors who are cheaper and more expensive (mostly more expensive!). You may well choose one of our competitors for reasons such as they are cheaper, closer, have cameras more suitable for your needs etc. and that is fair enough! We accept that and welcome it as it gives us something to aim at.
However, if you are paying someone to use an unmanned aerial vehicle (a radio-controlled helicopter, plane or any other RC aircraft) can I please ask one thing? Please, please, please check that the company you choose has an up-to-date permission for aerial work from the Civil Aviation Authority for the aircraft they are going to use. They should be able to make the certificate available to you on request. If they don’t have it, it means they are not authorised to operate commercially in UK airspace. The CAA permission for aerial work also means that their pilots have demonstrated a level of flying competence, knowledge of UK airspace and that they know the limitations on their flying. Companies that have achieved their permissions recently may also be able to show you their BNUC-S qualification which is the new standard to achieve CAA approval.
Most insurance companies will now only issue insurance if the permission for aerial work is provided so if a company or individual haven’t got one they are unlikely to be insured for public liability.
Some might try to tell you that their aircraft doesn’t need a permission but it doesn’t matter how small the aircraft is, if they are flying for any kind of direct or indirect financial gain they must have a permission for aerial work.
Our industry, as it stands now, with a number of people moving away from a “hobbyist” approach, is very young. The CAA is really leading the world in the way it has allowed unmanned aircraft to begin to be integrated properly into UK airspace. Help us to keep it that way by only using approved companies and individuals so that the industry isn’t set back by people operating outside the legislation. If people make sure they ask then people operating outside the legislation will begin to realise that they either need to come on board or choose a different career, either way it ensures a safer, better regulated, professional industry.
Have a wonderful Christmas and if you need aerial photography or video in 2013, you know where we are!
Elliott – HexCam
(BNUC-S qualified and with CAA permission for aerial work… just in case you were wondering!)