Use this checklist to ensure the pilot(s) you are hiring for paid work are operating within the law, they have a current permission and are properly insured to fly drones.

PfCO Certificate: Check the name matches and it is in date.

Any professional operator will have this available to show you – and will be happy to do so. Be sure to check the expiry date on page two. Ask them what their CAA licence number is, and look it up to check it’s validity in this document. Be sure to have sight of the actual certificate and check expiry dates against those listed in the operators list, as anyone can make up a number and claim they operate under that name. Illegal pilots have been known to do this.

Insurance and public liability must comply with EC785/2004.

It will state this number on the documentation very clearly. Specialist UAV insurance companies like Cover Drone will only supply insurance once the pilot has their PfCO, which involves theory and practical flight exams. Some pilots use ad-hoc insurance policies, which are location and time specific. The minimum public liability for drone use is £1 million. Insurance is mandatory no matter where you are, even in open fields in the middle of nowhere – no excuses!

Flight plans must be in place prior to takeoff. If a last minute flight is needed (for example in an emergency for a roof inspection), then the flight plan must be in place prior to takeoff, no matter how urgent.

Note: Regular business insurance does NOT cover drone use. If the pilot has the wrong insurance, NOBODY has insurance.

Permission to take off and land, evidence of (from official email address) or wet signature by relevant person or authority.

You could also ask your pilot if they are willing to show you their operations manual, which is sometimes a private document but many operators will be willing to show you parts of it. This demonstrates how pilots comply with the ANO.

Remember, Drone Safe Register pilots go through these checks as part of their membership application, however it is recommended to check for your own peace of mind.

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About the Author: DSR Journalist

Harrison Green

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