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Dragons Eye Filming

Drone Photography, Surveys, Inspections & Filming

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Jack Watts Aerial Photography

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We are a Civil Aviation Authority approved aerial operator and can provide imaging services for property developers and marketing, promotional films, events, locations, aerial building inspections and surveys.

Flyby Technology

     Train with the best

From front line military operational instruction to the front line of drone operations, Flyby Technology has the instructors to deliver.  We currently have a combined total of 144,000 flying hours, most of it instructing and a cumulative 614 years of flying experience.  No other drone training organisation comes close to that level of experience.

Moonrock Drone Insurance

Moonrock offers the first instant purchase policies for drone pilots, eliminating the laborious process of providing extensive information, and then having to wait for a call back or email response. We have also sought to provide policies that really deal with the concerns and genuine risks for pilots. Our policy offers cover for cyber security and is the first to offer privacy cover, which is the general public’s primary concern about the growth of drones.


DroneLogbook is the one-stop flight log and management solution for the UAV/Drone industry.

Active Drone Services (ADS) specialise in specific airborne applications of thermal imaging, photography, precision agriculture, security, mapping and surveying. The drones we utilise offer an efficient and effective means of viewing and surveying applications of all difficulties and subsequently allow a clear and precise interpretation of data for businesses with wide ranging demands and diverse requirements.

Coverdrone Insurance

We offer bespoke protection, including full cover whilst in flight, aviation liability, data protection and invasion of privacy, plus many other additional features. Most importantly, we give you complete peace of mind. Coverdrone is fully compliant with EU regulation EC785/2004.

Whether you have an Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS), Small Unmanned Aircraft (SUA), Unmanned Aircraft (UA), Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) or a Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS), we can advise what insurance cover is right for you and your business.

Welcome to Absolute Drones

A New Business Directory for Drone Industry Insiders and Professionals

The commercial drone sector is growing at an unprecedented rate, and UAV adoption and interest has reached incredible levels across the United Kingdom. From real estate marketing to engineering surveys, drones have changed the way that we work and interact.

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FAA Requirements and Process for Becoming a Pilot First-Time Pilots

To become a pilot you must:

  • Be at least 16 years old
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand English (exceptions may be made if the person is unable to meet one of these requirements for a medical reason, such as hearing impairment)
  • Be in a physical and mental condition to safely operate a small UAS
  • Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge exam at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center

Pilot certificate Requirements,

  • Must be easily accessible by the remote pilot during all UAS operations
  • Valid for 2 years – certificate holders must pass a recurrent knowledge test every two years

Application Process

  1. Schedule an appointment with a Knowledge Testing Center (KTC), which administer initial and recurrent FAA knowledge exams
    1. View the list of Knowledge Testing Centers (PDF) to find one near you.
    2. Applicants must bring government-issued photo ID to their test
  2. Pass the initial aeronautical knowledge test – initial knowledge test areas include:
    1. Applicable regulations relating to small unmanned aircraft system rating privileges, limitations, and flight operation
    2. Airspace classification and operating requirements, and flight restrictions affecting small unmanned aircraft operation
    3. Aviation weather sources and effects of weather on small unmanned aircraft performance
    4. Small unmanned aircraft loading and performance
    5. Emergency procedures
    6. Crew resource management
    7. Radio communication procedures
    8. Determining the performance of small unmanned aircraft
    9. Physiological effects of drugs and alcohol
    10. Aeronautical decision-making and judgement
    11. Airport operations
    12. Maintenance and preflight inspection procedures
  3. Complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
    1. Register using the FAA IACRA system
    2. Login with username and password
    3. Click on “Start New Application” and 1) Application Type “Pilot”, 2) Certifications “Remote Pilot”, 3) Other Path Information, 4) Start Application
    4. Follow application prompts
    5. When prompted, enter the 17-digit Knowledge Test Exam ID (NOTE: it may take up to 48 hours from the test date for the knowledge test to appear in IACRA)
    6. Sign the application electronically and submit to the Registry for processing.
  4. A confirmation email will be sent when an applicant has completed the TSA security background check. This email will provide instructions for printing a copy of the temporary remote pilot certificate from IACRA.
  5. A permanent remote pilot certificate will be sent via mail once all other FAA-internal processing is complete.

* Applicants who do not wish to complete FAA Form 8710-13 online may choose the paper process. Please note that the processing time will be longer if a paper application is used since it requires in-person approval and signature by a designated pilot examiner (DPE), an airman certification representative (ACR), or an FAA-certificated flight instructor (CFI), and must then be mailed to a Flight Standards District Office (FSDO) for final review and signature. Additionally, a temporary remote pilot certificate will not be provided to the applicant. Instructions for completing the paper application process may be found in Chapter 6, Section 4 of the Part 107 Advisory Circular.


Drones are rapidly increasing in popularity in consumer markets, but it is in commercial aerial operation that some of the most exciting growth exists. If you feel that you need to operate a drone for your business to remain competitive, or even if you want to create a business offering commercial drone services, then you’re going to need to make sure that you’re prepared for flight and compliant with regulations in the United Kingdom.

Do You Need a Qualification to become a Drone Pilot?

If you’re going to be operating a drone for commercial purposes, then you are going to need to secure operating permission. In the UK, the Civil Aviation Authority regulates and enforces all requirements surrounding commercial drone operation. If you’re planning to use a commercial drone, then you’ll need to obtain Permission for Aerial Work, otherwise known as the CAA PFAW.

At this time, there are more than 1700 qualified drone pilots operating with the permission of the CAA, and that number is increasing rapidly. While it is illegal to operate a commercial drone without permission from the CAA, it is estimated that there are still up to 5000 commercial operators who are yet to become fully licensed. With widespread use of UAVs being a relatively recent development, there are yet to be any arrests or prosecutions relating to the illegal use of a drone for commercial purposes. However, this is not likely to remain the case.

With more pilots taking their drones to the air, the CAA will start heavily enforcing the rules, and you can take that as an eventuality, rather than as a vague prediction. If you want to remain on the safe side of the law, while ensuring that your business interests are protected, then you’ll need to prepare and take an assessment with a National Qualified Entity (NQE).

What is an NQE?

The Civil Aviation Authority enforces the rules regarding UAVs and commercial operation, however, they do not directly perform the assessment courses for drone pilots. National Qualified Entities are the companies and organisations that are authorised to perform assessments. Some provide assessment only (such as the Greater Manchester Fire Rescue Service), whereas others provide complete training and assessment. The number of companies that offer assessment and training is growing, and you can find a complete list on the CAA official website.

Costs can range from around £1200 up to £2000, depending on how much training you need, and the company that you choose for your training.

Is There Anything Special to Learn When Compared to Operating a Drone for Personal Use?

In many cases, operating a drone for commercial purposes is similar to operating one for leisure, however, there are still some key differences that training will prepare you for.

By obtaining your permission to operate, you’ll be able to use your drone around property and developed areas, which is something that enthusiast pilots are not permitted to do. Commercial drones are often larger and heavier than enthusiast drones, and can require more skill from a pilot to be operated safely. With training and certification, you’ll learn how to protect your drone from damage, and you’ll learn advanced strategies for safe flight in different conditions, avoiding obstacles, and you’ll learn what to do in an emergency situation.

Even if you think you’re an experienced drone pilot today, you’ll undoubtedly learn many new things by taking professional training, which will make you a more competent and safer drone operator. You’ll learn some much needed skills that will help you to fly in conditions that most enthusiasts will never have to experience, and it will mean that you can safely fly almost anywhere in the UK, making you an asset to any business as a commercial operator.

What are Some of the Key Differences with Commercial Drone Operation?

The difference between private and commercial drone operation isn’t just in the fact that you will be operating from profit. The following covers some of the unique aspects of commercial flight that you need to be aware of.

Commercial drone operation is costlier when compared to private flight. Enthusiast grade drones are not suitable for most commercial operations, so you’ll find that you need to invest in a drone and equipment kit in the range of £1000 to £20,000. The type of kit you need depends entirely on the type of work that you’ll be doing, and battery equipment will be a significant expense. You’ll need to operate drones for time periods much longer than the 20 or 30 minutes that is typically offered from an enthusiast grade kit. Professionals carry additional batteries as well as portable charging kits.

With permission from the CAA, you’ll be able to operate a drone within 150m of a developed area, and within 50m of property and obstacles. Private operators are forbidden from operating drones in these conditions.

Camera mounting hardware will also be different for commercial operation. Consumer targeted drone units come incorporated with high quality cameras, but they’re not up to the specification that you’ll need as a commercial pilot. If you’re going to be offering services for commercial photography, surveying, or even video production, then you’re going to need the right mounting hardware and camera equipment, as well as a drone that is capable of carrying heavier gear.

Opportunity Exists for Those Who Commit to Commercial Operation

The demand for commercial operators will grow in the coming years. If you want to be prepared to take advantage of a growing industry, then commercial drone licensing should be one of your top priorities. Familiarise yourself with the Civil Aviation Authority rules, and start to plan your business case and equipment requirements for commercial operation.

Once you’ve taken your assessment and obtained a CAA PFAW, you’ll be in the best position to compete in the commercial operator market.