When it comes to flying a drone and capturing spectacular aerial footage for your brand, there are lots of different obstacles in your path that you will need to navigate through before you lift off.
Here’s our quick guide to help make your flight more comfortable, legal and most importantly safe.
Maybe you want to wow your customers with some awesome aerial shots or make some commercial video footage like the stunning video shot in Norway below. This now makes you a pilot (technically). You do not need a permit from the IAA to fly your drone within the regulations outlined in the Small Unmanned Aircraft (Drones) & Rockets Order, but if you wish to fly outside of these regulations you will have to apply for Specific Operating Permission .This is a special permit issued by the IAA for commercial drone flying. They will give you specific windows of time in which you are allowed to fly your drone within the law. In order to obtain Specific Operating Permission the applicant must first take a drone safety course and then produce an operations manual that is acceptable to the IAA.
2. Registration and Rules
There are a lot of things that can go wrong during drone flight. So it’s probably a good idea to adhere to the rules for flight set out by the IAA (Irish Aviation Authority). Regardless of whether you are a commercial or hobby drone pilot you must register your drone if it weighs over 1kg. Then you will be issued with a decal for your drone with your individual identity code. Even though there is no minimum legal age limit to own a drone, the IAA maintains that a person must be over the age of 16 years old to register a drone. The drone owners parent or guardian can register the drone for that person should they not be the recommended age.
Here’s some drone footage caught by Conor, one of our digital executives here at Verve.
3. Where can you fly
In uncontrolled airspace you should never fly above 400 feet and the recommended distance the drone should be from the operator is no further than 300m. But as the laws have changed you can now fly your drone in controlled airspace without a permit, 15 metres (50 feet) above ground level and no more than 300 metres from the operator. You should always avoid flying within 5 kilometres of an aerodrome because you may interfere with a manned aircraft, like a plane coming in or taking off. This will not end well for you a humble hobbyist! Also try not to fly your drone in any civil or military controlled airspace as this will land you in hot water, and is extremely dangerous.
4. Check Your Equipment and keep your drone in sight
As drones can sometimes lose signal mid-flight, it’s in your best interest to keep a direct line of sight with your drone at all times. If do lose signal and your drone is out of your line of sight, you’ll have a tough time recovering it. Some drones come with a handy “Go Home” feature that will automatically fly your drone to back a pre-set location. Make sure this is calibrated in advance in case you do end up losing line of sight.
Always do a full safety inspection before take off. Make sure all your nuts and bolts are tightened, your motors are in good shape, and there no structural issues that may compromise your drones flight stability.
One of the limitations to drone flying is battery duration. Most drones will get about 15-20 minutes air time before their battery runs out. If you’re planning to shoot lots of footage, make sure your have enough batteries on hand so you can quickly switch them out and get back in the air. Try to plan your shots in advance so you save on flight time, and avoid unnecessary battery waste. Also, always make sure you have enough battery left to safely fly your drone home too.
While is may sound like a lot of hassle, the rules are there to help you fly safely and avoid unnecessary danger. Either way, just remember that you don’t own the sky and you must respect other people’s privacy as well as the rules and regulations set out by the IAA whilst operating your drone. Always fly safe to avoid injury to you or any others who may be in your area of flight.
Not sure which drone to buy? See our previous blogpost ‘5 Best Drones On The Market, from Beginner to Pro’
At Verve, we’ve shot drone footage for some of our clients including Diageo and Vhi, and we have experience navigating the legalities involved, as well as working with some of Ireland’s best drone pilots.
Drop us a line if there’s anything we can help with if you’re planning a commercial drone flight to shoot some spectacular footage for your brand or campaign.
Have Fun and fly safe!