After having a few questions popping up about the drone, I have decided to do an FAQ blog post. Phil Shepherd, our very own professional drone pilot, provides his answers to your questions below!
1, What is an aerial drone?
An aerial drone or UAS (Unmanned Aerial System) as we prefer to call it, is purely a way of getting a high definition video camera into the sky, to record footage from the air. Traditional helicopters with a dedicated camera gimble and operator cost up to £10,000 an hour and are usually restricted to flying at above 500ft. A UAS can fly with the relative permissions, from an inch to 400ft (127M) in most places in the UK.
2, Is the aerial camera insured?
The aircraft is insured and more importantly we have public liability insurance up to £10 Million pounds.
3, Is the aerial camera safe?
We use the very latest miniature UAS aircraft (pictured above) that have numerous built in safety controls including: electronic built in compass to control heading, full GPS and GNSS capability, and forward facing anti-collision sensors, which will automatically stop the UAS from hitting a vertical surface.
Additionally, we have three years operational experience, hold a BNUCS licence to fly commercially in UK air space, and are a member of IOSH, holding a NEBOSH qualification in Health and Safety, a formal qualification for a Health and Safety Advisor.
4, Why don’t you use a large UAS with a DSLR Camera?
For the first two years we did operate a large UAS, the same as the BBC were using at the time. We did however, like the BBC, decide that the benefits did not outweigh the restrictions of always having to fly with Air Traffic Control, always logging a flight plan, limited flight time, and a more complex aircraft to maintain. In short with the aircraft we use, we can say yes more often and once airborne have a flight time up to 26 minutes, all without compromising quality.
5, How much extra will it cost me?
The drone is included in the price for the main package offered, and so comes at no additional cost. If we don't fly, you will be reimbursed £250.
6, What happens if it is raining or too windy on my wedding day and the UAS can’t fly?
If the wind is gusting above 20knots, or it’s raining more than a slight spit, we are grounded. If the weather looks impossible we will call you the day before, and let you know, that we will not be flying. If the weather turns for the worst on the day, which is usually rain as the wind is more predictable, we use a rain weather radar App, and can usually get the job done in between showers. In principle we can be grounded by Air Traffic Control if flying in their vicinity, although in practice this is extremely unlikely. If we don’t fly, you will be reimbursed £250.