FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

  

Our most frequently asked questions have been grouped into subjects for your convenience. If you have any other questions then please contact us for a chat.








OUR SERVICES

What areas do you cover?

We are based in Watton-At-Stone in East Hertfordshire and currently offer services in the south east of the UK. We generally operate within 2 hours drive of our base. To check how far you are from us please enter your postcode in Google Maps. If you are outside of this area do feel free to contact us to make an enquiry.

Can you provide a service that isn't shown?

New applications for drone technology are still being identified, so if you have a requirement that we have not listed then please contact us to discuss your needs.

Do you fly at night?

Yes, we have Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) permission to operate during the hours of darkness.

Can you fly a drone indoors?

Yes, we can fly indoors if the space is available and it is safe to do so. The dynamics of flying indoors are different and most of the time there are no issues, but a short test flight can ensure if it is possible. Our drones are battery powered with electric motors so there is no worry about polluting the environment.

Do you require vehicle access?

Our pilot will attend your location in a vehicle and do their best to park as close to the take-off/landing site as possible. If this is not possible the pilot can transport their drone on foot to the desired site. They may require your assistance to carry any safety equipment that may be required, such as warning signs, cordon cones, etc. Any issues with vehicle access will be discussed during the site survey with the client.

Can I just rent & fly one of your drones?

No, for safety reasons we do not hire out our equipment. Each of our pilots is fully qualified with a Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) commercial permit to fly, so they will do the flying.

DRONE SAFETY & RESTRICTIONS

Are you licensed by the CAA?

Yes, we have the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO), which is mandatory for anyone flying drones for commercial use in the UK. We are governed and regulated by the CAA.

Is drone flying weather dependant?

Yes, as with all types of aviation, the weather can have an impact on our operations. We cannot fly in very high winds or heavy rain as it is not safe to do so. Below is a summary of our operating limits:


Wind Speed: Not exceeding 22 mph, our advanced camera gimbal system gives very smooth shots in winds of up to 15 mph.


Rain: Flying in light rain is possible, but this can have a detrimental effect on the quality of the images taken. We cannot fly in heavy rain as this will damage our equipment.


Fog: The pilot has to maintain a line of direct sight with the drone, so if the visibility is poor then the flying range may be restricted.


Temperature: Our drones will fly in temperatures from 0°c to 40°c. Maximum flight times on a single battery can be reduced by up to 50% in very cold temperatures.

Are there any locations where you cannot fly?

Yes, there are areas in the UK where drones are not permitted to fly unless prior permission has been obtained, usually from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). At present there are restrictions in flying within 1 km of an airport, near military bases, prisons, nuclear facilities or any other location deemed sensitive. We also need the permission of the land owner to take off and land on private land.


We are permitted by the CAA to fly in congested areas, such as over a town or city, but some locations in London will require further CAA permission. We are also allowed to fly over a crowd of people not exceeding 1,000 persons, for example when filming an open-air event.


Each location is unique so we will conduct a site-survey to establish if any flying restrictions apply and seek the necessary permissions in advance of the project.

How high, far & fast can you fly?

Under CAA regulations we are allowed to fly from ground level up to a maximum altitude of 400ft (120m). The airspace for manned aircraft is over 500ft so this leaves a separation zone of 100ft. Generally, the ability to actually fly lower than a manned helicopter allows us to get much more dramatic video and more detailed images. If flying above 400ft is required to complete a project then we can seek prior permission from the CAA.


Our maximum range permitted by the CAA is 500m from the pilot who must maintain a visible line of sight at all times to the drone. This provides a circular operating area 1 km wide. For larger areas, such as golf course, our pilot will move their position between flights to ensure the location is covered.


The maximum airspeed of our drones is up to 45 mph depending on wind speed and direction. This can provide some exiting action footage of moving vehicles, cycling or running events.

Can you fly close to people & buildings?

Yes, our CAA approval clearly defines where and how we can fly. The main operational conditions for a drone are:


• Maintaining a distance of 50m from people & property not in control of the pilot.


• During take-off and landing maintain a distance of 30m from people & property not in control of the pilot.


• Directly overhead or within a minimum distance of 150m from an open-air assembly of over 1,000 people.


We can fly as close as safely possible to any property (including vehicles) when we have the consent of the owner, allowing us to do survey work of buildings, structures, roofs, etc.


With regards to people, as long as any persons in close proximity have been briefed and are under the control of the pilot, then close up flying is permitted, for example wedding photography, promotional videos, etc.

Are you covered by insurance?

Yes, we are fully covered by public liability insurance in accordance with EU Regulations. Our Insurance Certificate provides cover up to £1,000,000 against any third-party injury or damage caused as the result of our commercial operations. If required, the level of cover may be increased up to £10million at the request of the client.

PRICES & QUOTES

How much do your services cost?

  

Our prices start at £150, including VAT, for a typical 20-25 minutes flight gathering images or video footage at a single location with the job completed within an hour. For example, this would cover an aerial photoshoot of your house, place of work or school. There is no limit to the number of images obtained during the flight time.


Our standard prices include:


  • The pre-flight site survey to establish if there are any flying restrictions in place.


  • Travelling time of up to 1 hour or 30 miles from our base to your site.


  • Setting up and packing away time, which will generally take 30 minutes in total.


  • Public Liability Insurance up to £1,000,000.


  • A link to your unedited images/video held on our secure download server for 1 month.


Please visit our Online Booking page to view our most common services and standard prices. Our pricing may vary depending on the complexity, associated risks and location of the drone aerial photography. Please contact us to discuss your plans and requirements.

Why do I need to pay a deposit when booking?

A deposit of £25 is required when booking to cover our costs in the event of the booking being cancelled by a client without the required notice. Please remember that our work begins days before we arrive on site with a site survey to ensure the necessary permissions are obtained to legally fly on the day of the booking.

Is my deposit refundable?

Yes, you will get a full refund of your deposit in the following circumstances:


  • If the booking is cancelled by us and we are unable to accommodate an alternative date for you.


  • The booking is cancelled by you 5 or more days before the booked date.


  • At our discretion if we believe you have cancelled the booking in good faith.

What is included in your quote?

We aim to provide you with good value for money for our services and ensure you receive the quality products you expect from us. Our prices quoted on the Online Booking page provide a selection of our standard services, however, we appreciate there is such a variety of services available you may wish to contact us to discuss a bespoke quote. 


Our quotes include the following, which can be tailored to meet your requirements:


  • The pre-flight site survey is important to establish if there are any restrictions in place. For more complex projects a site visit may be required before the date of flying.


  • We include travelling time of 1 hour or 30 miles from our base to your site in our standard pricing, however, we are willing to travel further for an additional rate of 45 pence per mile or an agreed fee if significant distances are involved.


  • Setting up and packing away time generally takes 30 minutes in total and we allow for this in our standard price. If any additional setting up time is required then we will charge £60 (including VAT) per hour.


  • Public Liability Insurance up to £1,000,000 is included as standard. This level of cover should be adequate for most sites, however, increased cover of up to £10million can be factored into your quote.


  • A link to your unedited images/video held on our secure download server for 1 month.


  • We can quote for adjusting aerial images and editing video footage to incorporate soundtracks, music, sound effects, your corporate image or design to deliver film ready for publication. 


Air Photography Services (APS) can provide fixed price tenders and quotations to councils and other public sector organisations so please contact us for more information.

Will I need to pay anything extra?

No, not unless you require any additional services on the day or additional time is required due to client generated delays. We charge £60 (including VAT) per hour for any additional time on site. Please be assured that we will not charge for any additional costs without prior authorisation from the client.

What are your payment terms?

A deposit of £25 is required when booking any service from us. An invoice will be created on completion of the project and emailed to the client. On receipt of the total outstanding payment (minus the deposit) the images and/or video will be available to the client via our secure online server.

BOOKING PROCESS

What information do I need to provide?

When you make a provisional Online Booking date and time you will need to provide your name, email address, contact number and the location of the shoot with an accurate postcode. We will then contact you to discuss your requirements and create a brief containing as much background information as possible on what you want us to photograph and film.

Do you need to visit the location before flying?

Not necessarily, but in order to comply with Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) regulations we still need to complete our pre-flight survey. Once we have discussed your requirements, we will conduct an initial office based online site survey to see if the shoot is possible and if there are any other factors, flight restrictions or permissions that need to be considered. Each job is unique with a mixture of external influences that can affect when and where we can film, but we plan ahead to decrease possible disruptions, so if required we may need to visit the site before the planned date.

Do you need permission to fly?

Not generally, but UK airspace rules are quite complex so before each flight, we will plan and check the flying is safe and lawful. We will check with landowners, check land boundaries, and take into account all factors surrounding the flight. If extra permissions are required from the CAA, for example, if shooting in central London or any restricted airspace we can apply for any extra permissions needed.

Can you provide a demonstration of your services?

Yes, we are happy to arrange a free demonstration to give you an idea of what services we can offer. We may need to charge a small fee to cover our travel costs depending on location, so please contact us to discuss your plans.

What happens if the weather is not good on the day?

We monitor the weather forecast 5 days in advance of the booking. If the forecast is not favourable 48 hours prior to the shoot we will contact the client to discuss arrangements. There are a number of options available at this stage:


  • Re-schedule to a new date and transfer the booking deposit to this date.


  • If the project is a one-off event, such as a wedding, on agreement with the client our pilots will attend and remain on site as long as possible in the hope of a break in the weather. In such cases our costs will be agreed in advance with the client. 


  • The booking can be cancelled and the deposit refunded to the client.


Weather is known business risk in the UK so we are as flexible as possible to ensure that bookings can be rearranged.

How do I cancel my booking?

To cancel your booking please contact us as soon as possible to avoid losing your deposit. We will refund your deposit in full if your booking is 5 or more days away or at our discretion if we believe you have cancelled in good faith.

OUR PRODUCTS

How do I receive my photos or videos?

When completed your photos and videos will be available for downloading via our secure server. You will receive an email containing a link and password to your online folder. The link will be valid for 1 month allowing you plenty of time to download your products.

  

We store all of our master footage for 3 years, which allows clients to revisit and create extra edits when necessary, without the cost of a re-shoot.

What photo & video formats do you provide?

As standard, our still images are provided as 20 Megapixel JPEG (.jpg) format files. We retain the original raw Digital Negative (.dng) images for 3 years, but can supply these on request.


We capture video using the Ultra-HD 4K format at either 25 or 50 frames per second. Depending on the service provided we can either provide the original Ultra-HD 4K video (these can be very large files) or convert the video to a more manageable 1080p HD format if required. Again, we retain unedited original video footage for 3 years

Can you edit my videos?

Yes, we offer professional editing services including, graphics, colour correction and colour grading services tailored to your requirements. We can adjust our aerial images and video footage to incorporate soundtracks, music, sound effects, your corporate image or design to deliver film ready for publication. Please contact us to discuss your requirements and get a quote.

Do you have a satisfaction guarantee?

Yes, we aim to get the best possible images and video footage for our clients, so we provide a guarantee to do just that. If you are not satisfied with the quality of our work then we will rectify any issues as soon as possible at no additional cost to you. We value your custom and would never compromise any future business by producing sub-standard work.

What is your copyright & use of material policy?

Air Photography Services (APS) retains the copyright of all aerial photography and filmed content.


Our clients have full use of all photography and filmed material for their own business promotion, media, print, marketing, advertising and website use. Clients are not permitted to sell the material or allow general third parties to use it with prior written agreement with us.


Air Photography Services (APS) promotes our business and services via a diverse combination of media channels. We reserve the right to use any video footage or photograph still images for our own promotional purposes, on our website, in a show reel, in printed material and on social media.


With regard to client confidentiality and any embargo provisions, we agree not use any video footage or photographs until our client has published the material. We also reserve the right to supply video footage and photographs to stock libraries at a later date.


Any images obtained during our operations that may infringe on the privacy of a third party will be deleted/destroyed in accordance with the Data Protection Act 2018 and our Privacy Policy.

OUR EQUIPMENT

What equipment do you use?

We have invested in DJI professional drone equipment because of their proven reliability, build quality and long flight times. Using the latest in camera stabilization technology the gimbal mounted camera system delivers smooth fluid shots even in difficult conditions. Our drones record Ultra-HD 4K video and capture 20 Megapixel still images.


Each drone fits in a hard-shell backpack, so we can reach difficult take-off and landing sites on foot.

Is your equipment safe?

Yes, all of our equipment is maintained to the highest standards in accordance with our Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) inspected and approved operating procedures. Our drones use the latest obstacle avoidance technology to minimize the risk of collision with any structures, persons or animals. In the event of a drone malfunction, loss of signal or pilot incapacitation the drone will automatically return and land at the designated landing site, avoiding any obstacles in its way.

How long can you fly for?

The maximum flight time on a single battery in normal conditions is up to 24 minutes. Strong winds or very low temperatures can reduce this maximum flight time. On average we fly up to 20 minutes before landing and changing the battery, which only takes a few minutes before getting back into the air, so we are able to fly for hours with minimal disruption.

Can I see what is being filmed?

Yes, the image from the drone is streamed in real time to the pilot’s remote controller, which allows the client on the ground to see what the aerial camera is capturing. Working with the client, the pilot can adjust the camera pan, tilt, framing and drone flight path to get the best shots. To maximise image quality the raw high definition camera footage is recorded within the drone and downloaded after landing.

Are drones better than helicopters?

Yes, if the focus of your project is filming objects on the ground as helicopters have to operate above 500ft. Our drones can fly closer to the subject (ideal for building surveys), they are quieter, can be deployed more quickly as weather and filming dictates and they are a fraction of the cost of hiring a helicopter and pilot, which can be over £1,000 per hour.

Do I need to provide any equipment on the day?

No, our pilot will bring all the equipment required to complete the project, including safety equipment for the dedicated take-off and landing zone. If it is going to be a long day the availability of a plug socket would be handy to re-charge batteries and boil a kettle!

OUR PILOTS

Are your pilots approved by the CAA?

Yes, all of our pilots are very experienced and have passed the CAA approved exams and flight assessments. They all hold the established industry Remote Pilot Qualification (RPQ) for multi-rotor aircraft under 20 kg.

Are you pilots vetted?

Yes, we check they have the required qualifications to fly and review their references where available. As our pilots will have access to schools and children’s events they are subject to a Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) check.

How do I become a commercial drone pilot?

The qualification you need to operate a drone commercially in UK airspace is called a Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO). In order to get your PfCO you have to demonstrate to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) you are capable of operating safely in UK airspace, bearing in mind that our skies are a pretty busy place.


There are numerous PfCO training courses available in the UK provided by CAA accredited companies. The steps required to obtain a PfCO are:


Step 1: Online PfCO E-Course

The PfCO e-course has been created to cover the following subjects that meet the CAA recommended syllabus:


  • Air Law
  • Ground Maps & Air Navigation Charts
  • Airspace Operating Principles
  • Meteorology
  • Aircraft Knowledge
  • Airmanship & Aviation Safety
  • Human Factors
  • Operating Procedures


Step 2: Theory Exam

An exam sat at an accredited centre, usually 1 hour long and consisting of 50+ multiple-choice questions.


Step 3: Practical Flight Test

Conducted by an examiner to ensure the candidate can operate a drone safely.


Step 4: Operations Manual

You are required to complete an Operations Manual. This sets out how you will operate your drone safely and contains the procedures you will use when flying your drone. 


Step 5: CAA UAS Application

When you have completed all parts of your course successfully, you can submit your paperwork, including your Operations Manual, to the CAA via their online application process. After a few weeks you should receive your PfCO permit, which is valid for 1 year.