PfCO Drone Route

January 18, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

In a few weeks I'll be embarking on a journey to gain my PfCO Certification from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly my DJI Mavic (that's a drone to you) for commercial purposes.

They're a number of organisation out there that offer this course, but most, if not all, require payment in full upfront. Now that's fair enough, I completely understand the business model, get paid, provide a service, job done. I do it myself for my wedding photography, but I also offer people the opportunity to "pay in for it" should they want to stagger their payments over a number of months, completely without interest of penalty, so long as I'm paid, I'm happy. But... There's always a but, finding £1400 +VAT for a 5 day course is tough going. There's a raft of providers offering the same course for roughly £1,200 and some others for £999, all with the same aim of getting you certified.

As it says on their CAA website:

"Anyone who wants to fly a drone for commercial work (generally referred to as aerial work) needs a Permission from the CAA."

Now to get that permission, you have to demonstrate a sufficient understanding of aviation theory (airmanship, airspace, aviation law and good flying practice), pass a practical flight assessment (flight test) and develop basic procedures for conducting the type of flights you want to do and set these out in an Operations Manual. Sounds simple enough right? Wrong. It's a tough course, and it has to be for good reason, there's a risk to flying 'drones' and knowing what to do to minimise those risks, and what actions to take should things go wrong is hugely important. 

I've decided to work with a company called Robin UAV Ltd, who will be coming over to Belfast next month to run their 3 day course. Spoken to the team who will be training me and to be honest, I can't wait!!!

The best of it is, not only is their course only £999, they also let you 'pay in for it' after you've done the course through a Direct Debit Scheme, which is fantastic news for me, cause I've not long forked out £1,099 on my latest quadcopter, the awesome DJI Mavic Pro, check out what it can do in the video below.

Now to say it's portable would be an understatement, which is one, if not the only reason I wanted one in the first place. Now that I own one, I just can't wait to get out there and fly it, I just wish the weather was in better form that it has been of late, what with our Snow Blizzard (that didn't show) and the constant wind and rain, which is always here.

However, now that it's part of the camera gear, I want to be able to include it in the services I provide, such as group shots at weddings, little fly overs where possible for some of the future 'Picture Stories' I'm going to be offering in 2017, and also to enhance some of the commercial video work I currently offer, and not have to rely on the footage that others have supply.

I've been working on Adjustment Layers in Premier Pro to create a standardised filter system (colours, exposure etc), with a view to understanding on how to create a uniformed standard for all types of imported footage. I'll got in to that in other blogs, but I'm getting there.

Thanks for reading, and further updates as I'm able to offer this aerial photography on a commercial basis becomes more concrete.


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