Updated: Apr 27, 2020
Remember how happy you were when you passed your driving test? Complete freedom, new responsibilities and you'd just proved to the world you were safe, legal and insured.
Although that last part may not have seemed as important as the fact you could now drive your mates to McDonald's, it meant that you had the legal ability to drive and you knew you'd covered yourself with insurance in the event of an accident.
Can you imagine how annoyed you would be if someone crashed into you and they weren't licensed and insured?
That's were a PfCO comes in for drone pilots.
A PfCO is like a driving licence for drone pilots.
It may still be a surprise to some, but without holding a PfCO, it's a criminal offence for someone to fly a drone in a built up area (village, city, town)... Including their own back garden, unless they live in the middle of nowhere!
Not only that, it's also a criminal offence for someone to work and accept payment using their drone without a PfCO. Everyone knows someone with a drone, but that doesn't mean you should give them a call next time you want to do some promotions for your business or have your roof inspected at a discount price - If they have an accident, then who's going to pay?
Why should you care?
There's an amazing freedom about flying a drone around, seeing the world from a above for the first time...and the 100th time. But there's also a responsibility that gets left behind by some... Machines break down, electronics fail and propellers spinning at 1000's of RPM would hurt like hell if they hit you in the face.
Without a PfCO, any hobbyist drone pilot could fly over your house, your garden, your car and if their drone failed through lack of proper care or crashed due to negligence, it may end up causing damage that needs to be paid for... or a serious injury that needs tending to.
It's the responsibility of every car owner to insure it, MOT it and make sure it's safe to drive to the best of their abilities. Much like this, a PfCO holder has written documentation signed off by the Civil Aviation Authority to prove they are willing to look at all the risks involved when flying in built up areas and do their best to mitigate them, whilst also maintaining their equipment to keep it safe and keeping records as proof.
Next time you see some bad news about drones in your local paper, spare a thought for the professional operators who do it legally and go through a lot of effort to be safe. Drones have some amazing and useful benefits, and the PfCO holders amongst us already have a hard enough time fighting the bad press drones get!
If you need a drone pilot, please get in touch. Not only do we have a PfCO here at Vantage, we have an additional authorisation from the CAA called an OSC, which not only proves our commitment to safety, but grants us the ability to fly closer, fly higher and fly further!