A Tale of Two Places

We were asked to film in two locations last week for Kinetal Media and SRK Scaffolding.

We started the day at Castle Drogo on the edge of Dartmoor National Park, the castle is undergoing major renovation and SRK were called into erect a temporary wrap over the castle to protect it from the elements whilst work got under way. Although the weather was against us we managed to film the site and the various aspects of protection SRK had installed.

IMG_1041Flight gets underway
castledrogo2Work continues no matter the weather
CastleDrogo1Weather worsened during the shoot, but we percivered
castldrogo3SRK Scaffolding job is to make sure the castle stays dry in any weather, and they do just that

Next a quick trip back to Bristol to film SRK Scaffoldings work at Ashton Avenue Bridge, another structure receiving major renovation at the moment. Luckily for us the weather did not follow, it was quite blustery but our drone coped really well producing some excellent footage. ONTO THE NEXT

ashtonavenuebridge1Ashton Avenue Bridge Renovation
ashtonavenuebridge2Loving the Birds Eye View as we call it
ashtonavenuebridge3Just enough time for a quick selfie

360 Degree Virtual Tour

Screen Shot 2017-08-02 at 21.34.39

Over the course of the summer apart from the normal land surveys we do for various companies, we were approached to do 360 virtual tours for two business parks on the outskirts of Bath. This wasn’t the first VR tour we had done but two at once was quite a challange.

Using our drones and software from Kolor and over the course of a month we produced two interactive tours for the client for his website. The client was overjoyed and our results can be seen using the link below.

If you are interested in any virtual tour please contact us for further details and to see what we can do for you.

Business Park 360 Virtual Tour

So You Want to Start an Aerial Drone Company



We have been asked a lot of times what it takes to become either a drone pilot or start your own aerial photography business.
In response to this we have put together a short guide to help those who are interested.

Part One:

Which Training Company to go with?

There are many *companies to go with within the United Kingdom and more appearing week by week.
We will concentrate on the company that our training was with. This is purely an example of the type of things to expect when training to be a drone pilot.
The company we trained with are called EUROUSC

You will train for a specific qualification called

The Basic National UAS Certificate (BNUC™) introduced in 2008 for Visual Line of Sight of Operations (VLOS) and the recent BNUC™ for Small Unmanned Aircraft (BNUC-S™) commissioned by the UK CAA in 2010, cover fixed, rotary and multi-rotor systems.
The BNUC-S™ is the preferred pilot qualification standard required by many National Aviation Authorities before a Permission for Aerial Work or Exemption is granted to an operator.

The specifics of the course for *EUROUSC and other companies is as follows:

PART 1     Theory

Theory Course and Theory Examination

This is usually a two-day course where you will be taught amongst other things the rudiments of flight operations and CAA regulations.
You will then be asked to sit an exam, when we qualified the pass rate had to be 85% or higher. The exam is held at the end of the course.

PART 2     Practical

Operations Manual Assessment

Flight Operations Examination

This is part and parcel of the training and forms the most important part of your company documentation, the Operations Manual. You will be guided through how best to compile the manual using normally the CAA specified *Manual template.

This is then followed on a different date by your Flight Operations Exam “The Practical”. Be expected to travel to anywhere in the country for this one. Ours was in the Midlands. You will be put through your pace’s and assessed on just how good a pilot you really are. We cannot go into great detail albeit to say LEARN TO FLY IN ATTI MODE, and practice your figure of eight. At this point you will require Public Liability Insurance (Covered later in this document)
*All relevant details are at the end of this document

Part Two:

Applying for your Permission for Aerial Works (PFAW)

This is where your newly acquired pilots licence and completed operations Manual play in integral part as these are required by the CAA before you can charge for any aerial work.
The training company as part of their package will check and send off your Operations Manual for the CAA to check, although you will still have to pay the CAA separately for issue of the certificate. Depending on the time of year you may be waiting up to six months.
But remember without this document you cannot fly for gain.

Part Three:


To fly for monetary gain, you have to have something called public liability insurance and the minimum is between Two and Five Million Pounds, there are some specific companies that will insure your company and your Drone(s) but take your time in choosing. Remember the cheapest isn’t always the best.
*A list of insurance companies is included at the end of this document.

Part Four:

Learn the Regulations

Reading and learning the regulations on flying drones is a must and with every man and his dog seeming to own a drone these days the regulations are revised often.
These also make up an integral part of your Operations Manual.
Here are the important basics as laid down by the Civil Aviation Authority:

For aircraft of 20 kg or less, these are referred to as a ‘small unmanned aircraft’, for which the requirements are a little less stringent and are covered within Articles 166 and 167.

Article 166
1. A person shall not cause or permit any article or animal (whether or not attached to a parachute) to be dropped from a small aircraft so as to endanger persons or property.

2. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made.

3. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.

4. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft which has a mass of more than 7 kg excluding its fuel but including any articles installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight, must not fly such an aircraft:
a) in Class A, C, D or E airspace unless the permission of the appropriate air traffic control unit has been obtained;
b) within an aerodrome traffic zone during the notified hours of watch of the air traffic unit (if any) at that aerodrome unless the permission of any such air traffic control unit has been obtained; or
c) at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is flying in airspace described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) above and in accordance with the requirements for that airspace.

5. The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must not fly such an aircraft for the purposes of aerial work except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.
Article 167
1. The person in charge of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly the aircraft in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2) except in accordance with a permission issued by the CAA.
2. The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are:
a) over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
b) over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
c) within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft; or
d) subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.

3. Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.

4. Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the person in charge of the small unmanned surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.

5. In this article ‘a small unmanned surveillance aircraft’ means a small unmanned aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

In essence therefore, provided the aircraft has a mass of 20 kg or less, the current regulations state:
1. The operation must not endanger anyone or anything.
2. The aircraft must be kept within the visual line of sight (normally taken to be within 500 m horizontally and 400 ft. vertically) of its remote pilot (i.e. the ‘person in charge’ of it). Operations beyond these distances must be approved by the CAA (the basic premise being for the operator to prove that he/she can do this safely).
3. Small unmanned aircraft (irrespective of their mass) that are being used for surveillance purposes are subject to tighter restrictions with regard to the minimum distances that you can fly near people or properties that are not under your control. If you wish to fly within these minima, permission is required from the CAA before operations are commenced.
4. CAA permission is also required for all flights that are being conducted for aerial work (i.e. in very simple terms, you are getting paid for doing it).
5. The ‘remote pilot’ has the responsibility for satisfying him/herself that the flight can be conducted safely.

Relevant CAA Documentation

CAP 382
Mandatory Occurrence Reporting Scheme Ninth Edition – 18th March 2011
CAP 393
Air Navigation: The Order and Regulations Fourth Edition – 30th April 2015
CAP 403
Flying Displays and Special Events Thirteenth Edition – 01st February 2015
CAP 722
Unmanned Aircraft System Operations – Guidance Fifth Edition – 24th March 2015

Part Five:

Company or Sole Trader – What’s in a Name

Each has its good sides and bad sides depending on how much work you expect to take on.
Personally we chose the company route but we suggest strongly you speak to an accountant before you make a final decision.

Naming your business:
This is of equal importance as this can reflect the type of business you intend to run.
Bearing this in mind think about the type of work you intend to take on, will you be a jack of all trades or deal with a specific part of the market, concentrating on aerial surveys for example. We recommend you investigate the market thoroughly before you decide what your business will do.
As of February 2016 there are 1416 commercial Aerial UAV companies registered in the UK.
Part Six

What Drone?

This is the million-dollar question and something only you can answer. But bare in mind the following:

• What works will you be doing?
• What Camera will we carry?
• What type of work?
• How much do I want to spend?


Part seven

*Relevant Information

UAV training companies


Resource Group

Phoenix UAV Centre

Drone Training Aerial Academy


Drone Insurance


2015 a good year for HAI

2015 was a very significant year for Harris Aerial Images Limited, no more so that it was our first full year in business, and what a busy year it was.

Here’s an overview of just some of the great projects we were involved in:

Bristol Rovers Promotion Celebration

The Bristol Rovers Promotion Celebration in May was a great experience and we spent most of the day capturing footage around the Stadium with our team. This was the first outdoor event we had done and very successful it was too, with the club very happy with our results.




Somerset Village Shoot

Another project we were asked to do was a bit of a mad one and caused a kind of Domino effect. We were asked to photograph and film a property in Somerset. The property was at the end of a private road consisting of a small village.


After canvassing the neighbours to make sure they were happy with us flying we started the shoot. Within a short time the neighbours had come out of their houses and were now asking whether we could photograph the village for their magazine. We subsequently obliged and shot some really great footage much to appreciation of the villagers who spent much of the time asking questions about drones and aerial photography.


Not quite finished with us we were then asked on the same day to photograph a party in one of the neighbours gardens. So with this done we packed up after a very successful and challenging day and left a behind a very happy village.


Spark Fire Dance Shoot

We were asked by Dan Miethke and Stephanie Höggerl from Spark Fire Dance a Fire Juggling Troupe to shot some footage along with Dragoneye Aerial another Drone Company at Ashton Court in Bristol.



The day started well and the weather was perfect with everyone introducing themselves. Dan had an idea what he wanted and we all bounced ideas off each other. After a full days shooting the results were fantastic and everyone agreed it was a resounding success.


The Taking Part Festival

We were asked to do some aerial work by Meeco London, a media company for The Taking Part Festival at Tottenham back in September.

Although to begin with the weather wasn’t with us the day turned out to be very busy with plenty going on and plenty to film. Our drone caused quite a stir with lots of people asking the ground crew all sorts of questions, namely “where can I buy one.


We had a ball working along side Meeco and have since gone on to form a strong working relationship with the them. All in all it was a long day but well worth it with all our hard works paying off. Another satisfied customer.



Finally we come to Scotland

Old Inverlochy Castle – Fort William


Harris Aerial Images took a well earned break to Scotland back in August. We stayed in Fort William and were looking forward to a week of relaxation, how wrong we were

Old Man of Storr – Isle of Skye

We spent the next week driving the length and breadth of Scotland filming as much as we could and seeing as many sites as we could fit in. This country is mesmerising and if you haven’t visited I suggest you put Scotland on your bucket list.

Castle Tioram and Inspire


I drove 1800 miles during our week in Scotland from Fort William to the Outer Hebrides to the Cairngorms, we tried to fit in everything because who’s to say when we will return.