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UK Commercial work at the weekends

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by bliffman, Sep 19, 2014.

  1. bliffman

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    Hi,

    I've been loving flying my P2V+ about for the last few months and have filmed a mate's wedding in Italy and various other sites.

    I've been approached by wedding couples, hotels and a handful of other companies that have seen my videos (not that they're amazing, just happen to hit the spot with them) to do some work for them. At the moment I can only do this for free as I don't want to invalidate my insurance (FPV UK).

    I've got a full time job that I'm committed to but would like to do the odd paid flying gig at the weekend. From what I've seen there's no half-way house with the commercial work, you either have CAA approval (which mean BNUC-S/RPQ-S) or you don't and the latter being illegal.

    For someone like me, it seems a bit OTT to do a course £1200-£1600, spend 20-30 hours on an operations manual, wait 3 months to get approved by CAA (another £113) and then pay out for insurance (probably £600+) like i'm working on aerial photography full time.

    It just seems to me that it's quite a steep entry point ~£2,500 for someone who might only do the odd weekend gig. I understand it's like that to stop that people just buying them and charging people in an unregulated manner but it just feels like it's a bit OTT to me given that I could fly in the same places (mostly) as CAA approved pilots.

    Does anybody have any views/advice apart from "don't fly commercially then!"?
     
  2. IrishSights

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    I know what you mean. Even if you do it for free for someone or business and they subsequently sell or bill someone else the CAA regard that as commercial. How do I know? I emailed and asked them.
     
  3. noiseboy72

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    I think the issue is the Phantom suddenly made aerial photography cheap and accessible to the mass market, yet the regulations and safety considerations are not always made clear at the time of purchase.

    Of course, a Phantom is not as much of a danger as a 10Kg Octocopter, but if it hits someone, it's still going to hurt! The differentiation between a "park flyer" or other lightweight models and serious, large and heavy r/c aircraft normally only flown at club sites and away from the public has become seriously cloudy, so we all get lumped into one category.

    I work in the sound industry and we get seriously fed up with the weekend amateurs who undercut us, illegally overload their vans with home made, often dangerous gear and generally do a rubbish job. I am sure the professional drone flyers feel much the same about we enthusiasts moving into their "patch".

    Simple answer? Film the weddings as a hobby and for nothing. Get basic insurance for £20 and your outlay is pretty low. Enjoy your hobby and steadily improve your skills until you feel you could go pro and then the money becomes less of an issue. :)
     
  4. RichW

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    Disclaimer... I'm not trying to encourage illegal work but does anyone know if its legal to film for free however charge for your editing time on the free footage?
     
  5. IrishSights

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    I agree with noisyboy72.

    I did read a while back, can't remember where, that the questions was asked of the CAA and their response was that it would be regarded as 'Aerial Work' and be subject to having permission from them and that it would be open for prosecution otherwise. I wish I could remember where I read this. They would see this basicly as evasion.

    Sent from Samsung S4 via Tapatalk
     
  6. Meta4

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    That excuse just isn't going to cut it with the regulator. They aren't that dumb.
    It's something that naive American flyers started up a while back but seems to have dropped off since their FAA came out with a clarification of what commercial use means.
     
  7. RichW

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    Thought they might have thought of that. I guess its down to certified aircraft and courses then for anyone wanting to.
     
  8. IrishSights

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    I don't think the CAA accept 5.8Ghz control aircraft only 2.4Ghz. Maybe some existing commercial UK operators can confirm?

    Sent from Samsung S4 via Tapatalk
     
  9. hotstink626

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    if your doing filming in italy the only licence you need is your wallet.. :D
     
  10. BMEWS

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    That's according to the CAA. but logically unless you've gained financially from the deal then there's no way they could prosecute. It would be ludicrous. That would be akin to prosecuting gun manufacturers because someone committed a murder using one of their firearms. It'll all come down to contract law.
     
  11. IrishSights

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    I dont intend to get into having a clash in court nevertheless!
     
  12. noiseboy72

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    I think to be fair that if your "free" footage ends up being used commercially you could hardly be held to blame. The CAA will be looking more at attempts to hide income - using the edit cost only line or similar.

    I think however, they are much more interested in flyers who operate too close to people and within towns and cities. The other day a friend spotted a Phantom being flown up Hampstead High Street!

    I do think there is an argument for a non-commercial pilots qualification. Possibly a shorter, less expensive course and a generic flight manual for the Phantom? This would allow holders to operate in some restricted airspace - such as filming charity events or a friends wedding, but not charge for their services. Think of it as the equivalent of a private pilots licence as opposed to a commercial licence?
     
  13. IrishSights

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    I got a PDF draft of a document from fpvuk.org which they were asking comments from their members on. Its a basic semi-graphic safety document which the CAA are planning to supply at point of sale for every UAV sold. Don't know how they plan to supply it with internet sales. A good start.

    Sent from Samsung S4 via Tapatalk
     
  14. zenoshrdlu

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    It might be tempting to do 'commercial work' on the sly, but there are two key points to make:

    1. if you do it and there's an accident of any sort you will be in real trouble - first because your public liability insurance (which you do have, right?) will not pay up if you are breaking the rules and second, because then the CAA will find out about it and prosecute
    2. while the CAA are unlikely to find out about the odd job, if you advertise your services they will (a professional who's got a CAA licence will probably report you)

    In my opinion it's just not worth the risk.
     
  15. IrishSights

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  16. pyrophantom

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    No they wont accept 5.8GHz for control
     
  17. bliffman

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    Sorry for the lack of input from me but I've been away on my stag do weekend so only just reading this on sunday night.

    Thanks for the replies, tips and ideas.

    FYI, as stated I have insurance for the hobby side via FPV UK. I 100% wouldn't fly it commercially on the sly for several reasons but the main one being I wouldn't be insured and could lose my house over it.

    I think the idea of a shorter course is a good one. Maybe i'm dreaming here (I am still a bit pickled from all the alcohol) but perhaps there could be a new licence type for quads under 3KG(?), maybe with an online course to learn and pass beforehand, and an on-site training day and flight assessment with approval given same day. Also, it'd be great if the CAA would grant the training company authority to automatically issue the CAA approval on passing the course. I know all this is extremely unlikely but hey ho.

    Tomorrow I'll be calling a few insurance brokers to try and get some indicative quotes. That'll be the last piece of the jigsaw then it'll be .......... decision time.

    BTW, I'm filming a friend's wedding next weekend (with approval from the venue etc) and of course i'm not charging from it. If I did go down the commercial track and then use it as a showcase video would that technically be against CAA rules? I can't imagine it'd be top of their list but was just wondering about it?

    Cheers guys.
     
  18. Nidge

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    Earlier this year the CAA announced that they were placing a temporary suspension on issuance of permissions for commercial operating of craft using 5.8GHz as a control (C2). At a stakeholder meeting held at the beginning of August it was announced that after ground tests that the CAA would lift this restriction. The restriction was formally lifted at the beginning of September.

    Interestingly, or rather more worryingly for those who had already invested, they announced that they would not be providing certification for craft using the DJI A2 flight controller due to a reported 50% failure rate and subsequent safety concerns.

    Full details and minutes of the meeting can be found here:

    http://arpas.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2 ... tes-2.docx

    Regards

    Nidge.
     
  19. rilot

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    That's not what was said.
    Yes, one supplier provided anecdotal evidence of a 50% failure rate. The CAA said that they will investigate and consider issuing a safety notice or taking further action. This has not happened yet and people are still being certified with the A2. My friend got his BNUC-s and permission for aerial work issued last month with an S1000 and A2.