Professional Aerial Photography

by G-Aviation | April 21, 2014 | (5) Posted in Projects

Professional Aerial Photography

As flitetest have discussed before in the US your not allowed to earn money using UAV/Multirotors for aerial video & aerial photography. In the UK we don't have have this problem, but the Civil Aviation Authority have put rules in the way to be able to do it legally 

To do it in the uk you need to have an RPQ which is a remote pilots qualifiation and is a 3 day course you have to take which is £1500 once you have that you have to apply for premision to fly from the CAA and then they still might not let you fly.

So taking all that into account I decided to start my own company called G Aviation and do aerial photography professionally, I’ve have no photography experience what so ever accept for what photo’s taken on my Iphone. I’ve been flying RC models for the last 10 years, only multirotors in the last year. 

So what I did was get on young business scheme and got a business loan for £7,300 which most I have spent. If your considering doing this I would recommend no less than £5,000 to do aerial photography professionally and to get the right kit!

1. The Multirotor
I went for the DJI F550 Hexcopter with:
Mini iOSD
Zenmuse Gimbal
GoPro Hero 3 + black
Imerssion RC FPV set up with 7" monitor
Futaba TJ8
with a 5200mAh battery I can get up to 15 - 20 minuets flight time
I had it built and test flown by a compnay called

I also built my own FPV ground station with a TV monitor to work with the new DJI light bridge which I have pre ordered but not recieved yet. 

I also got a Macbook pro with Final cut Pro & apature installed (I would highly reccomend this as its great for editing and is so easy) to do the picture and video editing and here are some photo's I've taken and edited so far.


This is what I've got so far, Due to attend RPQ course next week and have some payed jobs lined up aswell I shall post more in the future.

Total spent:

UAV : £2000

DJI LIght bridge: £1000

Mac: £1800

Course: £1500

UAV insuance: £500

Extra's: £200


NinjaFlashX on May 1, 2014

Good luck with your business! Wish we could do that here in America.
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Kiwidave on May 1, 2014
You can. Despite what the FAA have been trying to tell the public, there has never been any legislation covering commercial use of drones. It's all policy, not law. The FAA do not have legislative powers and cannot legally enforce their policies. This has now been confirmed as in the Raphael Pirker vs FAA case, Patrick Geraghty, a judge with the National Transportation Safety Board, ruled that there are no laws against flying a drone commercially.
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Red20RC on May 1, 2014
Nice overview. Good luck with the business.

We have a similar situation here in Australia whereby you can attend a course to get your RPAS accreditation. You then have to apply to CASA for licensing to be a commercial UAV pilot and then again for a Chief Pilot operating certificate if you want to run a business.

Sadly, when all this was set up it was done so in conjunction with the companies that run the training. They, along with CASA setup the rules so that to fly my 1100g foam wing I have to undertake the same training and scrutiny as if I wanted to fly a ScanEagle or Predator drone.
It appears that both CASA and the training organisations saw this as a way to firstly lock out the little guy, and secondly print money. This means it is going to cost me in the region of $15,000 to "maybe" get a license - that's before I even look at any kit or insurance etc.

There was talk last year of CASA bringing in weight based class registration for UAVs. In this way, if you wanted to fly something under 2KG it would simply be a case of applying online. If you wanted to fly a 250KG monster you would be treated as if it were a full-size aircraft. Of course this makes perfect sense and as such has been hastily buried under red-tape by the CASA "advisors" (read "training companies").

I'm not even going to get started on the UAV manufacturers that are charging $40K a go for an OEM operator's certificate...

...right, getting down from soapbox and off to play with my APM :-)
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FinalGlideAus on May 2, 2014
The under 2kg class is still very much alive in Australia. I fly fullsized aircraft with a guy who retired from CASA 12 months ago and worked along side the main guy working on these new regs. It is very educational talking to someone "within". Just remember that this is CASA and nothing happens quickly.
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suvansh on May 1, 2014
keep it up!
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3FliteUK on May 29, 2014
I'm glad I read this article, its definitely something which i'd like to pursuit when I get older simply because of the enjoyment factor! I never realised the UK had these courses in place I think its a great business opportunity and certainly is something that's fresh to the video production market, I think this type of production is going to become incredibly popular!
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The Groundhog on January 31, 2015
Great idea! I may try the same in a few years time ;)
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Professional Aerial Photography