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Commercial operators in UK flying as single operator ?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by kie1an, Feb 21, 2016.

  1. kie1an

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    Good evening,

    I was a little wary about posting in the qualified pilots section albeit I am working towards this. My question is commercially orientated. How many uk operators are working as a "one man band" and is it legal/possible?

    I appreciate that flying with another person operating the camera enables them to solely concentrate on the shot so in theory you should achieve better shots but is anybody doing both the flying and camera work commercially?
     
  2. Scotflieger

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    Welcome to the forum. This is the type of question that the qualified pilots section was created for. There are currently 1400 CAA approved organisations and persons registered in the UK. Each requires at least one qualified remote pilot and many of them will be operating alone as I do on most occasions. Obviously a separate camera operator and additional personnel will be required for certain jobs. None of these needs to be similarly trained or qualified.
     
  3. kie1an

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    That's great thank you for replying. Aerial photography and filming is something I love and have a very big interest in. I have got a business plan set up and so many ideas I would like to put into practice. My only two concerns are / were :

    1. I believed that I would have to employ or team up with someone to be the camera operator whilst I was flying, which I now understand you could do without in a lot of cases.

    2. This is my biggest concern, the market being potentially flooded with all these newly qualified PFAW holding operators, this is an industry that's currently on the increase however you don't want to arrive at the party late once everyone else is established and getting the work. But if you believe in yourself and your plan enough and have the creative ability then you can break into the market too.

    What's your opinion guys I would love to hear from people ?
     
    Scotflieger likes this.
  4. Paul Mac

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    I also operate as a "one man band", but always have an observer with me, to ensure safe operation. This is typically the client, who I brief prior to flying. I've always understood it to be a legal requirement in the UK.
     
  5. kie1an

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    Oh right that's interesting. Can anyone else clarify if this is a legal requirement to have a spotter? I'm not saying it's unprofessional as needs must and I would have to do the same but it's like being a plumber and asking the customer to stand next to you in the bathroom and pass things from your toolbox getting them involved. On the flip side I'm sure clients are more than happy to act as a spotter just through sheer interest in what you are doing : )
     
  6. The Editor

    The Editor Moderator
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    No you do not need to have an observer. It is not a legal requirement.
    However, if you intend to operate as a one man operation this must be specified in your ops manual. I have covered all eventualities and have a procedure for dual operation together with associated checklists and personnel functions and responsibilities and also cover one man operation when I wish to fly solo or cannot take a two man operation with me.
    As long as it is mentioned and explained in your ops manual you are covered.
    The issues arise if you are down as a two man op in your manual and you go out as a solo and then have a problem. The CAA would say "Well where was your payload operator".
     
  7. kie1an

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    Yes I imagine you would be hung out to dry if you deviate from the ops manual and have any form of incident! Good to hear that there is no legal requirement for a second person as a spotter, although I for one always enjoy it if I've got someone with me when I'm flying as a second pair of eyes. Handy