Only use approved commercial drone operators or you could be out of pocket – warns CAA

If you are paying someone to fly a drone you must check that they have the necessary safety approval, or you could be paying for an illegal operator that won’t be insured if things go wrong, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) warned today.

Anyone being paid to fly a drone needs to be an approved operator with a CAA permission for commercial operations. This ensures the operator of the drone has the necessary flying skills, knows the safety rules and has insurance.

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The CAA's Jonathan Nicholson said: “Anyone looking to hire a drone pilot must check that they are properly approved. That's your guarantee that you are hiring someone with the suitable qualifications and experience. And in the unlikely situation that something goes wrong and potentially property gets damaged they will have the right insurance to cover any costs. The UK's drone industry is expanding rapidly, but to make sure we achieve its full potential we need drone operators to follow the rules and fly safely.”

Each commercial drone operator who has been granted CAA permission will have a document from the CAA granting the permission and setting out conditions for its use. You should ask the operator to show you his or her permission document and discuss how the drone flight you want might be achieved within the conditions of their specific permission.

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Bryony Bishop, Drone Pilot at High Level Photography, said, "It's really important that anyone looking to hire a drone only uses a CAA approved operator. All our drone pilots have attended and passed a specific training course to obtain all the skills and knowledge necessary. We fully support the CAA's work in alerting everyone to the importance of using safe and responsible drone companies. We have additional permissions from the CAA that allows us to operate closer than standard drone permissions.

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