To fly a drone, or unmanned aircraft of any weight classification in UK airspace for commercial gain, you must have a 'Permission for Commercial Operations' PFCO. This is a certificate issued by the Civil Aviation Authority and it outlines what each operator can legally do, in accordance with the Operations Manual for the aircraft.
When employing or hiring the services of a drone operator, it is critical that you check that they are registered and licensed by the Civil Aviation Authority. This is more than just a piece of paper; This document proves that the pilot has undergone the necessary examinations RPQ-s or BNUCs (written and practical exams) along with a comprehensive operations manual, which meets the CAA standards and outlines what work the drone operator can legally undertake and their flight limits.
Using a drone or UAV pilot who does not hold this certificate will likely mean that they do not also hold the relevant insurance, or would not be able to justify to their insurer that they took the relevant steps to ensure an accident was avoidable.
The Civil Aviation Authority publish a list of certified drone companies. Before employing the services of any drone operator, make sure the CAA have approved them and are on this list.
Our drones and equipment are fully insured and we have public liability and indemnity cover to £5m. Our insurance documents are available to view and download from here.