Having photographs of schools and pupils from the air is becoming increasingly popular.

A few years ago the cost of hiring a helicopter or light aircraft would’ve made it very expensive, but drone technology has changed all that

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Aerial photos of a school are a great keepsake for pupils and staff. They can be used in yearbooks and promotional materials. If a school has impressive grounds and sports facilities, photographs taken from the air are the best way of showcasing these. For an event like a school’s 50th anniversary or a long-serving teacher’s retirement, an aerial photo is the perfect gift.

The first thing to consider when you book a school aerial photo is of course the safety and security of pupils and staff. Modern drones are reliable and safe, but only if the operator knows what they are doing and acts responsibly. It’s highly recommended that before you book a school aerial photo you check that the pilot has permission to operate from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The equivalent of a drone pilot licence in the UK is the ‘PfCO’ from the CAA.

Asking a parent, student or someone you know to take a school aerial photo may seem like a good option, but consider the risks involved. A PFCO drone operator will carry out and record a risk assessment and pre-flight survey. He will mark out and cone off an appropriate area for take off and landing, and know that flying over pupils must be avoided. A CAA approved drone operator will carry Public Liability just in case something does go wrong, and it’s good to be able reassure parents that all possible precautions have been taken.

Children are naturally excited to see and are interested in drone technology, so you could ask a pilot to give a talk or presentation when you book a school aerial photo. Many drone operators will be pleased to do this, and it can encourage interest in possible careers in the growing drone industry.

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