CAA Approved Drone Pilots Explained

CAA approved drone pilots are operators who have been granted a PFCO.

This stands for Permission to Fly Commercial Operations, and it means a drone pilot can legally offer his services for hire.

The type of work a CAA approved drone pilot carries out depends on several factors including the following.

  • The pilot’s background and work experience. For example, an experienced building surveyor may see the opportunity to offer drone hire for roof survey work and drone hire for roof inspections. A wedding photographer may want to offer aerial photography and video footage as part of his service.

  • The type of equipment the operator owns. Drones costing around a thousand pounds, such as the DJI Mavic, are very capable of producing high quality aerial photographs, but are not suitable for survey work on large construction projects. A Mavic would be a great aircraft for a CAA approved drone pilot producing images for estate agent sales promotions.

  • The pilot’s specific permissions from the CAA. There’s no such thing as a UK drone licence, but the PFCO sets specific operations a pilot is able to fly. For example, some can work at night or fly have exemptions from the rules relating to how close to buildings a pilot can fly.

  • The work that’s available in the local region. If a commercial drone pilot lives in a region where tourism is popular, he may be able to make a living from hotels and leisure resorts. An operator in a large city may need to look at surveying and construction as sources of paid drone work.

Search for your Local Drone Pilot


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About the Author: DSR Journalist

Harrison Green