So, What does it take to be a Commercial Drone flyer? //#MAIL- 83

hi how're you doing this feeling guess what it's not Monday it's not Friday's Wednesday which means only one thing hashtag mail that day in the week when you asked that burning drawing question and I try and come up with some sort of answer today's question comes Rob Ford sad squid ski that word pod sad ski it sounded better in my head and so sorry but oh I'm gonna give up anyway Jarrod says hashtag mail hashtag mail – hashtag mails and I can't get his name right I'm embarrassed hashtag mail hi Dylan could you please answer the most hardest question on this and not only this channel these days by the way this is the longest question in the world by the way apparently as many people as me are having some problems regarding the CIA permission and this whole situation many people buy the drone to fly capture some beautiful landscapes and post them on YouTube sometimes people are going further and put some of their job on stock footage agency sites which requires the CAA permission to do so of course could do you then make a video answering exactly step-by-step how to apply to get permission and how much exactly it costs because at the beginning there are there is a three documents which you need to include when applying for CIA permission aren't they this is what I found please complete the online application form and submit the following documents initial application ops manual insurance nqe full recommendation and equivalent qualification can you explain what is the is that ops manual these are Garrett's words not mine I do understand that we need a valid insurance while we fly our drones when flying for money but maybe couple examples where we can get this insurance and prices nqe full recommendations so that means you have to get a thousand pounds worth of course to get a qualification so probably to get permission to fly for money for CAA do I have to say more than 1500 pounds even if I would like just to put some of these videos on stop agencies this is sick isn't it or I do get it wrong that way that was the longest question in the world hashtag mail but thank you for putting them in the comments below with hashtag mouth don't forget if you've got a question slightly shorter then please put them in the comments below with hashtag mail and hopefully we'll give it a plug along with your YouTube channel darrid it is a very good question and let's just soldiers straight in as best I can in a sort of random way there's a there's a couple of points I would like to clarify and I would say to anyone looking to get their commercial permissions from the CAA let's not call them licenses because they're not licenses let's call them permissions first thing to do is if you go onto the CAA website now they have moved centuries forward and it's down to the the people that I know they've they've taken on board in the last six months who are who have a commercial background in UAVs and know a lot about drones and actually helping to to push them in the right direction obviously in a direction they don't really want to go in but they are getting there in the end if you go onto the CAA website now I will put a link down below you will see they now clarify a couple of things ie what is commercial operations they have made a a couple of examples down to what they class as commercial operations what you should need permission for Google sample our estate agencies and building companies where they are being used for a use that's part of a service they are then moving on you do need permission if you work in media photography and it is for a contracted customer you will need permission where you won't need permission is where and this is their clarification where you are shooting footage not for direct reward where it hasn't been ordered where you are just going to shoot footage and at some point then you decide to put it onto a stock footage company I've done videos about it before and because the original intention was not to make money from it if you if you shot footage a year ago and you now put it on stock sites if it will sell you don't need a commercial permission according to the CAA it then gets a little hard to prove that if you've putting lots of stock footage up and you are making a sizable income from the footage you are shooting because then the original intention has changed you're not just doing it for your own recreational fun you're actually doing it as a business likewise if you are a charity a school you're doing it for your own purposes you're not doing it from a commercial point of view then you do not need emotional permission however that does not negate the need or the rules so even if you are shooting something that doesn't need a commercial permission you will still be under the you have to keep away from 150 meters from a congested area and the other thing is you are not insured so if even if you are a commercial venture that does something else and using drone footage as something for your internal use you need to be aware that the chances are your commercial insurance will not cover you for flying a drone so therefore you need to get commercial insurance now when you go to get commercial insurance they will ask to see your CAA permission so it's a bit of a chicken and egg situation you need the permission to get the commercial insurance for them to cover you in flight even though you're not doing it for reward or commercial purposes yet you you can't do that without a permission so therefore you will need to get permission that's it ultimately so at the moment listen if you are looking to get your commercial permission from the CAA words of advice number one last time I looked which was yesterday there are over four thousand registered permissions that's four thousand of you and I out there that may be your competition so before you even venture into this before you even start spending the money make sure you have a solid business plan do not please do not go out and spend an awful a lot of money on training insurance and everything else on the thought that you will be a commercial drone flier without a business plan you must have another skill whether it is you are the most amazing photographer videographer director you are already shooting ground footage on a commercial basis do not think that just because you have a permission people will be knocking on your door saying yeah we want to give you work because it doesn't work that way so make sure you have a sound business case make sure you have a skill behind it before you even think about spending that money look at what you can transfer from what you do already when you can integrate this drone this flying camera into what you do already because that's how you will learn the money you will not earn money just by having a permission what you need to do is first of all you need to go out and do a course a ground school which doesn't teach you to flight drones all it talks about is aviation law aviation Maps weather systems that's what it teaches you do you then do a multi choice question paper at the end of your course which you either pass or fail you need to pass it to get your ground qualification from that stage you then go on to write what they call your operations manual now your operation manual is basically a book that says how you will operate as a business how you will fly safely now I've seen a couple recently where people have said have a look at my ops manual what do you think and for a one-man operation they've got 130 pages that is ridiculous okay this ops manual is something you are tested on if something goes wrong because it's then down to you and I to prove that we didn't do something wrong not for others to prove that we did do something wrong so this ops manual will hang you if you've just copied and pasted it from somewhere else so you must write your own operations manual because it is a step-by-step guide on how you fly so that if you need to be replaced by someone you can just pass it to someone else and it's in an instruction manual how you will fly commercially everyone's is different my advice would be make it as simple as possible kiss keep it simple stupid because at some point the CAA will look over your shoulder and go so talk me through this so you say you always fly with a spotter there's just you everyone does it everyone makes that mistake they they make it sound as if they're bigger than they are you don't have to do that this is just a very simple document you need to understand also about risk assessment and method statements that is key when you are risk assessing your flight when you've got your document that you write to say if it's safe to fly or not you need to be able to go back in time and prove that it was safe to fly and the way to do that is they ask to see your risk assessment on your method statement it's not a copy and paste document you need to write it yourself because you need to understand how you operate and it's a good self check because you need to refer back to this throughout the year as well you need to make changes as there are changes to the air navigation order and every year when you resubmit your application to get your renewal of your permission with the CAA they will go through it they will do a word search for key words to see if they pop up things about article 94 95 ABCDE better have those in your document and you understand what them they're there to do so that because they're looking for proof that you understand the air navigation order when you've written your flight ops manual you then do a flight test now my flight test we had to fly in a team mode so you had to have a craft that could fly in a T mode the inspire series and the Phantom series where you can flick a switch put it into a T mode we had to fly it in a windy day and do a figure of eight and a rectangle which is very difficult when the winds blowing but you have to prove that you can fly in those conditions what you can't do is is go to a flight test and say Yeah right I don't normally fly in this wind speed I can't can't fly with wind cuz that that's basic stuff about being able to handle your craft now where do you do your training there are many places at the moment I searched today there are is a link down below there are over 35 in qyz those are training organizations that have gone to the CAA and have approval to do a course all their courses will be different because there is not one set standard it's very difficult to compare one course to another course but they're all teaching very basic stuff about getting you your permission they don't teach you how to use a camera they don't teach you how to work on a film set they don't teach you how to survey a roof these are other things that you will have to bring to the party they won't teach you that you have to go elsewhere to learn that sort of thing so my advice is if you are serious about becoming a a media drone fly for example is go out and learn about photography go out learn about cameras not necessarily on drones how to adjust aperture shutter speed ISO what difference they make how to compose a photograph because that is what will get you business not the factory fly a drone but that you can compose a photograph you can get it in focus you can get the exposure correct and the customer is going to be happy with what you shoot which has nothing to do with flying a drone so I understand those to begin with would I recommend an NQ II know my NQ e I've found out today that I did my training with is no longer training is no longer an NQ e it is a tough market out there there is deals to be had that training cost will come down you don't have to spend a thousand pounds a shop around but get a course that matches your skill set make sure you do your background reading make sure you understand what air symbols mean on an air navigation map those sort of things that's what you need to understand you need to understand weather systems wind what veering is what you know random things are that's what you need to know which is nothing to do with flying drones really and then take a hard look at your business plan and think can I make money out of this can I put food on the table can I support my family because that is what is about and I would suggest that there are very few people and organizations that are making a very good living solely out of just flying drones there are other ancillary services as it becomes more of the norm the exceptions out there you need to start looking to do something else add something to what you can deliver to your customers because that's what they will pay for the other thing is insurance now insurance is expensive now I've already said to get insurance you need to have a permission and to get permission you need to have drone insurance there are different insurance companies out there I go with cover drone I've been with cover drone for day one they meet my needs there's two types of policy you can get you can get an annual policy or you can get a by the flight policy which is all app based you get a price and maybe a good product to look at if you've got your commercial permission but you're not flying that often you can then put in exactly what flight you're gonna do it gives you a cost you can add that directly to the customer helps with your cash flow it's really easy to use they've got this app based thing you can go through and they do either annual in term Nancy insurance can be added there's so many different insurances you can add so much kit that can be covered but that's important is when you are looking around its what is covered in flight so when a seagull hits it and you need to make a claim are you gonna get everything back is the cover is the camera covered a lot of them they're not you know is the data covered on the SD card some on shop around don't just go buy price go and make sure it is easy to increase and decrease that cover when you need it and how flexible is it so coming back to you Derek when you look at cost it is gonna cost money you are going to be spending somewhere between 500 and 1,000 pounds for your course if you're paying more than 1,000 pounds look at the course it may be not worth the money my opinion insurance insurance is gonna be somewhere from four or five hundred pounds up to twelve thirteen fourteen three grand it depends what you're covering what you're flying but you need that insurance cover now is just the start I mean then you put your application in so you've done your training your pass-through course you place your flight school you've got your ops manual written ready to go ready to be tested you then need to submit it to the CAA you can do it online now is so simple to do there is no difference in weight class now there is all just that one click weight class up to 20 kilos you know if you fly solely indoors you do not need permission is not covered by the CAA now but you go online and they will scrutinize they will go through your ops manual it will take a couple of weeks for them to do it and they will reject it and it will come back and you will need to rewrite sections of it but they will give you what they need to see in your ops manual you don't need to refer back and pay more money to a training organization to rewrite it for you so you know it take the time and work out are you ready to make that move from recreational drone flyer to becoming a commercial operator because you're going to have overheads this is a business and you need to make sure you can cover your overheads otherwise you'll just be deluding yourself not just about what you think you need to earn for that month you need to look at all your insurance costs you need to look at down months you need to look at bad weather how many weeks actually a year can you fly and earn money on top of that is you're gonna need to replace kit every two or three years as things increase people demanding five kage shooting for example sudden you're gonna have to start investing some serious money on some serious kit so don't take the decision lightly do your research dig deep look into yourself and make sure that this is a viable business for you if it is great go for it do it don't stop don't even think about it but if there's a slight nagging doubt there's a slight thing you think you know you're embarrassed about going knocking on doors asking for the business maybe it's not for you be honest back to stock agency I've done a video over there again it's all about intention do you intend to sell that footage if you do you need a commercial operation and places to fly to fly in a congested area you do need permission from the CAA so you need to do the course and spend the money at some point whether that will be the case in a year or so as time when they change the registration process and look at it and think well maybe we know who these people are now do we need that congested area doot Doo II I don't know let me know what you think in the comments below if you've got some hints if you're running in commercial drone business and you want to share something I can understand if you don't want to share anything but poem in the comments below help them out tell us about your experience of running a drone business getting that permission did it work for you did it not work for you I know plenty of people it's just not working it's not their fault it's just the state of of what it is you've got to have a clear decided business plan that doesn't revolve around just being a drone pilot because doesn't put food on the table it's what you do with it anyway that was a great question and let's just have a look and see what Jarrod's been up to I like this video because there's only 40 seconds what's it called this one teaser of the church max volume I can't do the volume assembly so Darren you're not telling me what you fill me with you're not telling me if you've got some ND filters don't forget if you put a video on just tell us what you think hi it's very dark but I like that move up there once you're at the top of the you've got the battlements turrets there of the church when you when you pull up and reveal that we are very dark but this bit works well the music check out the video because it does nicely let it I would like to see more of that pull away I think forty seconds I don't know what to say there's bits are like there's bits I don't like I thought it was a little bit too dark and a little soft so I don't so you need to let me know what you're shooting with I don't know if it's the Mavic air automatic probe what it was you shooting with parts of it looked a little bit soft for me I think you can you can play around if you play around with camera settings a little bit more I think you can get more out of those things but when you were editing to the music those bits I did like I get there's sudden thing like and I guess it's about it's a personal choice right it's about style and finding your style and there's a point where your style gets recognized and people start thinking ah right yeah I get I get what you were going for bit like Banksy look at Banksy start people thought was graffiti and now are they're selling for millions of pounds it's a wall crazy but Derek great thank you very much sorry about the whole name thing but that's that's great don't forget if you've got a question for hashtag mail please put them in the comments below along with the link to YouTube channel will give you a plug but anyway please share like and subscribe and don't forget if it is your first time watching this channel to hear that notification button to let you know the next time there is a video that may or may not help you become a drone flying cinematic God but till the next time I fly in friends please fly safe take care I'll see you on the sunny side bye

Happy #Mail Wednesday. Drone questions answered, and a plug for your Youtube Channel: This week.. What does it take to be a commercial drone pilot?? Keeping it real as always.
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38 comments on “So, What does it take to be a Commercial Drone flyer? //#MAIL- 83

  1. russell UK

    Good advice on starting a business. Sad reality is that market is currently over saturated. You will need more than just a good business plan, you will need to take months to years of building a business probably running at a loss for most of this. You will also need a lot of luck to land a few good clients. During all of this regulations will get tighter, competition will grow and the ability to fly in so many places will become more difficult as local councils and private land owners refuse to give permission on a growing basis. So good luck!!

  2. Mikes Photos Online

    Hi David. I recently subscribed and have found your channel very helpful and interesting. I was wondering if you can give me some guidance. I intend to purchase my first drone in the New Year, with the intention to starting a YouTube channel to promote my photography journey and location footage. I ultimately will look to sell my images (not drone footage) as I improve. In this case what if anything do I need to do with the CAA. It goes without saying I will invest in a drone public liability insurance. I thank you in advance for your assistance. P.S keep the vids coming, they are really enjoyable……love the style.

  3. Samantha Drone newbie

    #Mail Hi Dylan my #Mail question. As a newbie to drones (6 weeks) I’ve learned the basics of control with a syma x5 and have been looking for a 1st proper drone to learn the cinematography and honing my flying skills. I had quite a few years of experience with photography in my earlier years with a Praktica MTL5 but lost interest due to the developing of film and thousands of slides everywhere lol. I’ve been thinking of getting the Mavic Pro Platinum fly More Combo to restart the hobby but am not sure it’s a beginners level drone ? What are your thought ?

  4. Paul Murray

    #Mail… I Fly several different DJI Drones, Inspire 1 is a favorite with the Z3 Camera. I have been having continually increasing problems with the original Lightbridge that now is getting critical. The video downlink breaks up and disconnects and will not recover while in the air. The only solution is to land and restart the aircraft and controller. Love my Mavic 2 with Ocusync 2 and have not loss of signal video down link. What are you thoughts. Also, why wouldn't DJI offer a program to send in the Inspire 1 with Controller to Upgrade the Aircraft to Ocusync 2. Love this model. What do you think. Thanks, love your insights and videos.

  5. LordKwad

    As always very informative! Now for my #MAIL question. I started in the hoody flying home build freestyle quads, I enjoyed flying them but the constant breakages ended up killing my love for it as as my flying progressed I started to focus more on what looked good rather than crazy tricks so I hung up the freestyle quads and went with a phantom, now I get people saying go back to freestyle and be a real pilot anyone can fly a phantom. I had people I flew with who would laugh at people when they would speak to us in the park and say they know someone who flys a phantom. Saying this is real flying. So after my rant… why do a lot of people think we are brainless idiots standing in a field while the drone flys around on its own? thanks!!!

  6. Magnus Persson

    I say go over and beyond bureaucracy and do what´s need to be done. With that said, I do not promote undeclared work. But what "amateurs" do and try to do has nothing to do with taxes. "Comercial drone flyer", nah if you got the skills, talk to the right people and you got your plate of silver…

  7. Redsectora

    Dylan have ever thought about doing a video about Litchi? I'm sure many of your viewers would be interested in your opinion of this App and what benefits or not you can see in it? Keep up the great videos mate.Cheers Andy

  8. Kevin Williamson

    A burning question Dylan! #mail.
    Any tips on getting better cinematic footage? Thoughts on quick shots vs manual? I find quick shots obviously easy but very limited and boring, and would like to know how to improve on manual shots or better usage of the quick shots. Big fan of the channel mate and keep up the excellent job of keeping us informed and entertained 👍

  9. Steve Carpenter

    Dylan, outstanding business advise for this #MAIL Wenesday. We more or less have the same thing here in the US, if you monetize anything or for a profit you must possess an FAA Part 107 certificate. Although the testing here is just written and all the other testing that you have in the UK. Thank again, your business advise should be taken to heart by anyone wanting to go into the commercial drone business, it's not as easy as they think, you need customers!!!

  10. Carl Pendle

    I've just recently completed my PFCO (and passed thankfully!) and it was not an easy decision to take but I did a bit of homework that maybe I can help others. Firstly, I got a local company to sponsor the £1K fee for the course in return for 4 flights and they more than happy to do that. I'm also a videographer so I'm supplementing it as part of what I do so I can upsell to companies who perhaps hadn't thought about drone footage and lastly, I had a lot of clients who wanted me to have everything legal and insurances in place before they would commission me. I just wish on the courses they taught less about the cloud formations per se and more about how to safely fly. A few people on my course had hardly any flying experience but passed the theory and practical so once there ops manual was done they could fly commercially with only, in theory, a few hours flying experience under their belt. My two pence into the debate if it helps.

  11. Jo Bloggs

    #Mail must be Wednesday.

    Hi Dylan love your delivery.

    Great answer to Dawid.

    Thanks for taking the time to go through the drone consultation, your explanations of the questions and possible meanings helped me get through it. (Bloody 2 hours not 40 mins). Q: With all the rules/laws possibly F.I.N.S. coming in the future. What does it mean to pilots with drones under the 250gms weight? Are they considered a toy what does that actually mean? I have a spark but sometimes I fly the great little quad Latrax Alias very light. I value your opinion of my first time ever of editing and uploading a drone clip, Spark no filters full auto, hot sunny day 35 degrees back in July. There are transitions but in this instance I think they work>

  12. Nick Gagen

    Again a great Video explaining the ins and outs of commercial drone flying. I was looking at doing it 2 years ago, but then tallied up the pros and cons and decided at this moment in time, I would put it on the back burner! Good luck to anyone who takes that jump!


    Hi Dylan, ok is all said, for those who use drones as a hobby do not need permission (off course respect the laws), you want money?, first you have a career in photography and then study 1500 pages to get the license for fly your drone, uuuuffff easy!!!

  14. labtec1958

    #mail#mail I meet a chap with a mavic are flying on the shore where I live . We chatted about the WiFi signal and how the signal drops in and out more often than not and can get frustrating. He then said “ I’ve got mine on FFC like in America so I can go miles ? ? This throw me as we were in the north west of Englanld. So I asked what he was taking about to which he replied “ it’s easy mate just get the hack of the .interweb and your sorted better than the CCE mode. Can you please explain in laymen’s terms what the hell he was taking about. No YouTube up loads. Yet

    Regards Steven

  15. Joanne Cooper

    Fantastic thanks for that. Very informative and as usual it’s always a moving target. My advice would be keep informed and up to date.
    Thank you for answering the hardest most hard question at this time 🙂

  16. Kim - Discovering History

    Great video Dylan as always. Very helpful and nice that you give it straight from the horses mouth so to speak. I myself am a PfCO holder and on my course there were people in their retirement years who didnt want a business plan to survive but merely now have the means to earn that little bit of extra cash legally. Most of them had a good photography background and the time and money to be flexible without the risk of not earning a wage so to speak. This is a young business and I was suprised just how many commercial pilots there are in the country. Not many. Like you said Dylan get a business plan or the very least a good knowledge of photography behind you. Remember it's a camera with wings. (Or rotors)

  17. Phantom and the Drone

    🤥 I just want to be a real Drone…….. funnily enough though, Banksy was my inspiration to start my channel. A year earlier, after much deliberation and many hours of YouTube unboxing and review videos…..Dylan @ ikopta being one of a select few that I took notice of…..I decided on the DJI P4P, which just happened to turn up on my Birthday 🎁😀. I didn’t do anything rash, no unboxing, no review, I leave those to the experts! I just went out and practiced. Fast forward 11 months and time to be inspired ( I don’t mean upgrade!) I started my own channel, and this is where Banksy comes in 😎…. For me it has never been about success or wealth, it’s always been about the doing, the enjoyment and time spent achieving that end goal.
    I have no intention of going commercial, no real need to complicate what I do, because that distracts from the inspiration and enjoyment of the hobby. For me taking the time to learn, understand and maybe completing the CAA PFCO is about making life easier. I care about my hobby, I enjoy what I do, and understand and care about the changes due to public perceptions and the need for regulations.
    But most of all, I want to be a Drone flying, Cinematic god….Just like Dylan!😂

  18. Perfect Drone Shots

    Great video as normal mate, i am currently looking into a PfCO, to say it is a mine field is an understatement. One thing i have done is create an interest as a recreational flyer, use social media, to gain an interest in what you can offer. I have a built my business plan up over the last 3 months, constantly adding to it as my skills and knowledge go further. Luckily it is paying off and the channels that i use do gain interest so once i make that big step and gain permission to go commercial i will be doing it with all the knowledge i have gained myself and the constant research carried out. Your words are wise my friend….certainly don't go in this blind, but also have faith in yourself and your skill set 👍.

  19. didactylos4 diddy4

    To emphasise Dylan's point about the tough markets out there, at this time last year there were 30 commercial drone operations within a 20 mile radius of here. (And this is a rural area)
    Now there are a mere 5 and they all are businesses with other established business operations within their companies.

  20. cars and cameras

    well said mate , i thought about doing it ,and when way things up i think i would wast my money , interesting about image libraries i have loads of footage on my pc and it its doing nothing , thanks

  21. Alistair Barclay

    I would suggest that you wait till the CAA eventually get their act together over the recreational regulations that are coming before you spend any money on a "commercial permission"

  22. brian forward

    good vid wind sheer blah blah blah BUT the most important thing you might have left out in the commercial world

  23. EdCranium

    If you start with a Business Plan and have a Cashflow Forecast then that will tell you if your idea could work. If you have a local Enterprise Centre, they can help you with that. I took one of their free courses. My head was much clearer after that. #GoodQuestion

  24. Dawid Podsadowski

    Thanks Dylan for this explanations, I do appreciate the effort and as always good job! Now everything is crystal clear, and that's nice to be able to put some of our footage on the stock agencies as Tony Tee said when we are flying as a hobbiest. Regarding my videos they are absolutely done for fun this video You shown on the channel was the first video after I have changed my phone and platform from iOS to android, I had a lot of problems with my Mavic Pro video feed lost and aircraft disconnected notice on the screen on my iPhone 7+ that's why I changed phone to beautiful and very good very fast OnePlus 6 in red Color! PROBLEM has gone! Best phone on the market for just 500£ trully recommend to check it out because it's worth it and not many people knows about it. Obviously my setting hasn't saved on the DJI account at least not all of them that's why I thought I will have a good footage but when I got home I realised that the camera setting were completely wrong but I still wanted to put something on the YT. Again sorry for probably the longest comment on this channel but I always trying to express myself the best I can especially if I am not English. 🙂

  25. Tony Tee

    Dylan you smashed it once again, I love #mail. Thank you Dawid for a brilliant question, I’ve also been a little confused as to what is actually legal. Dylan as usual you have done such a good job explaining the rules and regs, I’m a hobby flyer and have no interest in going commercial as I already have a good job, but knowing that I can sell footage by listing it on a stock footage site that l took while out just for recreation and not for the purpose of making money, just like with a handheld camera is good news. Thanks once again Dylan and Dawid 👍


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