Help! Do I need a PfCO to take these drone shots?

Hi guys,

Quick one for you,the company I work for is sadly failing financially.

We primarily manufacture windows and doors as well as being a social enteprise offering employment opportunities for people with disabilities who would find sustained work difficult.

A very worthy cause I believe…now down to business.

One of our success stories is a nearby development which is an impressive sight worthy of some drone shots.

I’d love to help out but do not have a Pfco,would I be in breach (no money changing hands)
Just want to help…

Any advice would be greatly appreciated…


I’m sure someone will come along with a definitive answer, so please don’t take this as gospel but I’m pretty sure I’ve read somewhere that it is the intention at the time which dictates whether you need a pfco or not. If i fly with intention of just gettig a nice picture for my own personal use but am later approaced by someone who wants to use it for commercial use, i don’t need a pfco.
So if you want to take pics of the develoment for yourself but are then approached by your company…?
I know it sounds a bit iffy but I’d appreciate any comments.

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If your company has asked you and they are using them commercially then a PfCO is required.
If they haven’t asked you but you have offered to take some shots which they may use commercially, PfCO is required.
You take some shots for your own portfolio and they find out later and ask for a copy regardless of what they are using them for, no PfCO required


That’s good to know. We have a fantastic social enterprise here doing all sorts of good things and I’ve been wondering how, if at all, my amateur droning could help them. Sorry to hear yours is struggling though.

Pretty much agree with the comments above but bear in mind that you will have to keep 150m away as it will most likely be considered a congested area which also means you cant overfly it. So if you can do that and get some good shots go for it.

@Jonathan @stevesb Actually I don’t believe this does constitute commercial work because you’re flying to promote your own business / charity and not actually flying for a client. A business is actually allowed to take photos and videos for its own promotional material and still have that flight considered NON-commercial. So, as you only want to take videos for your own promotional material, you’re fine to go ahead.
Specific text from the CAA: Generation of self-marketing material to display an object, event or other activity. An individual or business would not usually be considered to be conducting commercial operations if the flight is provided only for their own use. Example: A charity, educational establishment, local authority or business acquires a UAS which is used (and flown by its own staff) to provide aerial imagery for incorporation into its own promotional material.

Cheers, Ian

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I agree 99%, where I’m not sure is Jonathon is an employee of the company and they don’t own the drone. Therefore if he does it during works time he is being paid to fly by his employer wether they are using it for self promotion or not. If he does it after hours no pay fine, if they go out and by a drone and ask him to fly it fine.
Your thoughts? @ianinlondon

They could formally appoint him as a volunteer.

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Or a director


@stevesb This is where I chuckle with the CAA’s rules, because are we discussing the risks of a flight or the semantics of renumeration? And I think, really CAA, your job is to stop air accidents, not act like accountants…
My take on this example is very much “is the pilot being paid by a client to fly?” No. So given the CAA’s text about company self-promotion being ok, that’s as far as we need to go. Who owns the drone is irrelevant. When he flies is irrelevant. Neither is mentioned in the CAA text, only the fact of th flight being for self promotion. His opening post states he works for the company so this would be a flght for the self promotion of the company he works for, so it fits the CAA text and would be fine.
(IMHO :grinning: )


Thanks guys,much appreciated.