A brief round up of our most commonly asked questions

Are you trained/ licensed/ insured/ experienced/ approved?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

As well as having extensive prior experience with both drones and manned light aircraft, we underwent training with a CAA approved instructor, gained our CPL-sU, and were granted a PfCO from the CAA.

We are insured for public liability, professional liability, and more. For more information see our Legal Page.

That’s a lot of acronyms! What do they all mean?

You’ll find a few acronyms on the site. Here is a brief glossary to help you out:
CAA – Civil Aviation Authority. The regulatory body in the UK for all aspects of aviation.
CPL-sU – Commercial Pilots License for Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. It is illegal to operate a drone commercially without a licensed pilot, and PfCO from the CAA.
PfCO – Permission for Commercial Operations. All drone operators who wish to operate commercially (for gain or reward), must apply to the CAA for permission. If permission is granted they are added to the CAA’s register of approved operators. It is illegal to operate a drone commercially without a licensed pilot, and PfCO from the CAA.
UAV – Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. One of the many acronyms used to formally describe a ‘drone’. This one is our favourite so it’s the one we use, but usually we stick to drone or Whirlyrig.

Can I borrow/ hire your drone, but not you?

Nice try, but no.

Can you fly anywhere?

We can fly anywhere, within the parameters of the law, and as long as we have permission from any people or property/ land owners within a 50m range.

Drone operators are not permitted to fly above 400ft, or beyond half a kilometre from the pilot. There are other rules and regulations, but it is part of our service to worry about them, so you don’t have to. However, if you would like to know more, the CAA produce an informative pdf on the topic, and you can learn more from the dronesafe website (http://dronesafe.uk/drone-code/)

Can you fly over, or near people?

Yes, as long as we have their permission to do so.

We can safely operate at about 10ft from a subject, providing weather conditions are acceptable.

Can you fly in cold/ wind/ rain?

Yes, yes within reason, and no.

We can fly in temperatures as low as minus 10°C.

Technically, we can fly in winds up to 22mph, but winds speeds should be below 10mph for silky, smooth shots.

We probably could fly in the rain, but it’s not safe practice, and we can’t wipe a lens that is 400ft in the air, so we don’t.

Can you fly indoors?


Can you fly at night?

You bet we can!

What camera do you fly?

We have a few cameras, from the built-in model on our little DJI Mavic, to a Panasonic GH4. But in most instances, we use our versatile Zenmuse X5 for aerial filming, which along with the Inspire Pro UAV, is the perfect combination of quality, and efficiency.

How stable is the camera?

Whirlyrig uses industry leading 3-axis zenmuse gimbals, for tripod-steady shots.

Can the camera be controlled from the ground?

Yes, we maintain full, continuous control of the camera whilst it is in flight.

Can I see what’s being shot?

Sure can! Fantastic lightbridge technology allows a beautifully clear video downlink, which means you can see exactly what is being shot, always. And with 0 latency we can even broadcast the video downlink, live, in full 4K.

How long can we shoot?

For as long as you want.

Depending on the UAV in use, we can get up to 30 minute flight times on one battery, but with multiple batteries, and chargers, we can keep going as long as you like.

Flying times are reduced, and waiting times increased in adverse weather conditions.

What is the downtime for battery changes?

We will land for 5 to 10 minutes to change batteries, and/ or memory cards.

How long is a Whirlyrig working day?

Our working day is usually 8 hours, and a further 2 hours maintaining the drone and charging batteries for the next day.

A half day is 4 hours. We are happy to extend these hours, but pro-rata charges will be incurred.

Are drones safe?

We are experienced, qualified, licensed, and approved pilots, all of which means we abide by rigorous safety standards, and protocols.

In the hands of amateur or irresponsible pilots, drones can be very dangerous. There is also, always a small chance of mechanical or electrical failures, even after all safety, security, and maintenance procedures have been observed.

If we feel that it is unsafe to fly for any reason, then we won’t. Although this might be irritating for a client, we ask that all clients respect this important safety policy.

I can buy a decent drone for about £1000, why should I hire you?
Whilst we welcome the purchase of new drones, and competition, both of which strengthen the industry, we would like to offer a few words of advice.
For any commercial operations, you will need a license, PfCO from the CAA, (or equivalent in your country of residence), and relevant insurance. Commercial operations encompass any flight that is undertaken for remuneration or other valuable consideration, which includes any marketing, or promotional, or other beneficial use of a drone for your own ventures. There are hefty fines and sentences in place for those caught breaking these laws. Moreover, should anything go wrong, or if damage is caused to property, or if people are injured, you or your company will be expected to take full financial and legal responsibility.
If you are willing to train for and pay for the licensing, insurance, permissions etc, then you will also need to spend time learning to fly the drone, control the camera, and use the software. You will need to maintain the drone, maintain operational currency standards by building and recording flight hours, conduct risk assessments and surveys for every assignment, and keep all relevant paperwork etc. It’s not as easy as it might first appear. 

However, if you are going to be using a drone regularly, it might be worth taking the necessary steps to owning and flying your own drone. We would be happy to offer any advice, or to take part in a few of your projects so you are better equipped to make this decision.

OK, I want to book with Whirlyrig. What information do you need?
It’s probably best if you give us a call, or send us an email with the basic information first.
There is a remote chance that you might be in a geographical area where all flying is prohibited, and we wouldn’t want you to waste your time if that is the case.
For now, just let us know the location, proposed date/ time, and your basic requirements, and we’ll do the rest.

For any other questions, please write us at ask@whirlyrig.com or call us on +44 7982982307





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