Aerial Photography – Frequently Asked Questions:

Interested in an aerial shoot, survey or inspection? Below you will find answers to the questions we are most frequently asked about our aerial photography and drone services

Q. What is an SUA/SUSA/UAV – Are they the same as a drone?

They are, these terms refer to “Small Unmanned Aircraft”, “Small Unmanned Surveillance Aircraft” and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle” respectively – all of the terms are interchangeable.

Q. My mate Dave has a drone and said he could do me an aerial photo for £30

Whilst the price may seem tempting, you should be aware that it is a criminal offence to use a drone for paid work without a valid CAA Permission for Commercial Operation (PfCO) and commercial insurance. All pilots at DS Aerial have all undergone both theory and practical training and examinations. When you are planning for aerial work, you need to be assured that whoever you are using is legally able to conduct the work and insured accordingly.

Q. What weather can you fly in?

We are able to fly in most conditions, however rain, fog, falling snow or high wind speeds/gusts (up to 20mph) will mean that we are unable to fly – we keep a close eye on the weather in advance of your shoot and your pilot will make the decision to fly.

Q. Where can you fly?

Our permissions allow us to fly within visual line of sight only (VLOS), this means that we must be able to see the aircraft for the duration of the flight and at a distance no greater than 500 meters and a maximum altitude of 120 meters. We are limited by minimum separation distances as outlined in the Air Navigation Order 2016, these are: Not within 50 meters of any person, building or vessel not under the control of the pilot – this distance is reduced to 30 meters for take off and landing. Not within 150 meters of an organised gathering of 1000 people or more. In addition to these, specific restrictions apply for flights within the central London area whereby additional permissions are required.

Q. Can you fly close to airports?

Potentially; even though we operate aircraft below the Air Navigation Order limit of 7kg, we will only operate within controlled airspace if we can come to an agreement with the local air traffic agencies to ensure a safe flight. As with all flights, a thorough check of the location using both ground maps and air charts will be conducted, including checks with local authorities and air traffic where necessary, before we can agree to undertaking a flight.

Q. Cancellations and re-bookings?

If we are forced to rearrange your shoot due to adverse weather, there is no charge, we will work with you to get your shoot rearranged as soon as practicable.

Should you need to cancel after the planning has been completed a charge of 50% of the quoted price will be payable. In the event that the weather is marginal, but within our legal tolerances, and we are asked to complete the task against our advice and the shots are not as you wanted then the full fee will be charged.

The pilot in command reserves the right to say no if we are asked to operate beyond our legal limits as defined in our PfCO and Operations Manual.

Q. Can you fly abroad?

We are licensed by the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to fly within the UK, however, we can liaise with local air authorities to obtain permission to fly world wide, please be aware that obtaining the relevant permissions will incur an additional fee and, can take around a month to obtain – possibly longer for countries outside of the EU.

Q. What aircraft do you use?

We have a range of aircradft, from the DJI Inspire 2 for aerial photography and filming, to the Matrice 210 RTK for thermal imaging and surveying. All are capable of high resolution stills (RAW and JPEG) and Ultra-HD video. The nature of the task, location and distance from vehicle access determines which aircraft can/will be used. Our Inspire 2 is capable of speeds in excess of 65mph – fantastic for fast moving action shots! Our PfCO allows us to fly any aircraft with a maximum take off mass of < 7kg, so should a specific piece of kit be required, these can be hired in from specialist equipment providers.

Q. How much does it cost?

The cost of each project will vary according to the specific requirements, however at a minimum the following will be included:

  • Online pre-tasking survey
  • Pre-Deployment surveys, including liaison with local air traffic where necessary
  • Up to 25 miles travel from our Hertfordshire base
  • Site survey and risk assessment
  • Detailed planning to ensure we capture the shots you require

The list above is not exhaustive, we will always provide a full breakdown of all costs as part of your quote. We are happy to provide fixed quotes and/or day rates where a project will span multiple days or locations and to local authorities and public sector organisations.

Q. Are you insured

Yes, it is a legal requirement and a condition of CAA “permission for commercial flight operations” – our insurance is provided by Coverdrone, a specialist aviation insurance company, and covered for £1m aviation third party. A copy of the insurance schedule is carried with the pilot on every task.

Q. Copyright – Who owns the photos/videos?

The short answer is, it depends what you pay for – under our standard license, you, the client, may use the imagery in the manner(s) agreed in the quote; for example social media, online and print advertising. However, you are not permitted to sell, or give, the media to any third party without permission from DS Aerial, unless in the process of the agreed uses. DS Aerial may use the product(s) for portfolio / show-reel use unless specifically asked not to by the client.

We also offer an extended license, popular with T.V and media agencies, at the end of the shoot, the images and/or footage, is handed over, ungraded – in this scenario, full copyright is assigned to the client and they may use the footage as they wish – DS Aerial may only use this media with written permission of the client.

Q. Planning For Your Shoot

Prior to accepting any task, we need to conduct a series of assessments of both the task and the location, as we have certain legal obligations that need to be met prior to undertaking any flight. Once we have received your initial brief, we will conduct an initial feasibility study to determine whether the task, as described, can be undertaken. A quote will be provided with a full breakdown of costs, once approved, we will conduct a detailed assessment of the site and the intended flight – known as a pre-deployment survey; as well as a full risk assessment, these checks include

  • Airspace restrictions (controlled, active ATZ etc.)
  • Landowner permission
  • Other aircraft operations
  • Local byelaws and restrictions
  • Extraordinary restrictions such as prisons, power stations.
  • Airspace hazards such as High Intensity Radio Transmission areas (HIRTA) and Military Aerodrome Traffic Zones (MATZ).
  • Ground hazards such as electricity / telephone wiring, structures
  • Pre-notification requirements (air traffic control, local police etc.)

On the day of the flight, a further risk assessment of the site, weather conditions and intended flight will be carried out. If the pilot does not feel that the flight can be carried out safely then the flight will be postponed until all risks are mitigated – this may involve bringing in extra crew or waiting for the weather to clear. For night flights, we are required to perform a full site survey during daylight hours on the day preceding the flight.

Q. Data Privacy?

DS Aerial will only use your data to maintain contact with you during our engagement, we don’t operate mailing lists and never share data with third parties – the only exception to that would be to comply with an active investigation by either the police or the CAA.

Q. Who Are DS Aerial?

DS Aerial is a trading name of Dellfield Solutions Ltd. Registered office: c/o Needham Accountancy, Berkeley House, Barnet Road, London Colney, Herts, AL2 1BG

Company number: 05965272

VAT number: 124 6359 18