Looking for recomendations for a Drone for a newbie!


Hi Everyone, I have just joined this forum and it all looks very informative! I am looking to buy a drone which will be for a hobbie and possibly work as well, I’m a roofer by trade so would like to explore using a drone for survey/inspection work, I believe I will need a Pfco from the CAA, has anyone got one of these?
So what drone would you recommend me to get for this kind of work. Also would you recommend new or used? I have a budget of about £1000. ,
Many thanks in advance


Hi Dave, if your going to be using the drone mainly for work,i would think a DJI spark would do the job,and you can get the whole kit for less than £600. my mate uses his spark all the time for roof inspections and 1080p is an ok resolution for this kind of work.otherwise a mavic pro would be good,better range,and more then good for hobby and work!:+1::+1:


Hi Dave,
And welcome firstly to the GADC !.
Recommending a drone for your work will depend on several factors.
But, before we get into that, you say:

Before a PfCO can be issued, you will need to be able to show your proficiency in flying at a recognised training centre, create a flight manual, and several other tests.
Which is an expensive job in doing this training.
It is not a simple case of turning up at a job to survey, starting up , and doing the survey itself.
Many risk assessments have to be made, permissions received, etc, etc etc!.
I think the expression I would use is “Learn to walk, before you run”, I have been flying drones for 4 years and more, and I think am just about ready to climb the PfCO mountain !.
As for which drone?, you could get a Mavic Pro or the smaller Mavic Air for a grand.
I suggest good old Youtube is your friend, look at as many videos as you can before you decide, and maybe join up with someone in your area to get an idea of what it is you may need for your use.
Once again a big welcome from one of the “Old Codgers”


Can get a brand new Mavic 2 Zoom for £1k.


As @OzoneVibe said a Mavic 2 zoom would be ideal for inspections and a great price at Hobby Mounts.

Get some practice with that then you will need to factor in around another £1k+ for PfCO and PL insurance.


Hi Chris, many thanks for your prompt reply and thank you for your welcome!
I do realise that this is going to be a long haul before I get a pfco but I was just putting it out there, thanks for the recommendations I will look in to them.


Many Thanks for the recommendation I’ll check it out.


Thank you for the advice Callum, that’s very helpful.
Thanks Dave


Hi Firefox, thank you for the advice, glad to know a fellow roofer uses one as well! That’s great news.


As per @chrisjohnbaker you will need to check with these guys as they have FAR more knowledge on the PFCO then i have but certainly,if you want a small capable drone the spark or mavic should keep you well within the £1000 drone budget.The PFCO is another matter!!:+1::+1:


Hi Firefox, just out of interest, how come no one has recommended the Phantom 4, is it out of the price range? Or just no good?


You’re talking £1600 for a P4 Pro … even secondhand, a good one will be over £1k I’d reckon.


Like I said I would go for a used one, there seems to be quiet a few out there that don’t seem to have had much use!
It’s finding the right one I guess.


As others will tell you,the phantom 4 is a great drone,but very expensive but it does have a super camera,much better then any of the mavics,but is not that small,or easy to carry about…:+1::+1:


Hi Cheshire Tomcat
I have been flying commercialy since 2016 (PFAW) and resently carried out roof inspections in Cheshire and Shropshire in between the bad weather.I have been flying drones now for over 6 years now and I fly IP2PRO,P4P, Mavic 2 Pro.I have found that the Mavic 2 Pro with Prop Guards to be a more convenient for quick deployment and its quieter. Since the Gatwick incident before Christmas,I have found my customers neighbours to be quite negitive about drones near their property and they have called the Police. I have had a few conversations with the Police now and the first thing they have asked is the drone to be landed and then to show them my operations manual to show evidence of my CAA PFCO certificate and my Public Liability Insurrance.They also reminded me of the GDPR 2018 Data protection act where I must obtain written permission from the left & right neighbours,which I did in writting which must be completed and in your flight plan documents for every job.Now the pulic know they can just call the Police about any drone sighting, the Police have to respond.I have PFCO friends who have also experinced the same problems so make sure you have everything in place to carry out commercial aerial work - PFCO,PLi,Risk Assesments and written permissions to fly over any property.I had to write a CAA Operating Safety Case(OSC) and submit it to the CAA before I could carry out terrace & semi detached house roof inspections because of the close proximity to other properties and restricted T/O areas.Just make sure your legal and you follow the New CAA Drone regulations and you will be fine.


Welcome to GADC, @pmj … that’s quite a first post on the forum! :+1::+1:


Agreed - welcome to Grey Arrows @PMJ :slight_smile:

I’ve not heard of this before, do you have a link to the specifics of it? Does this only apply to terraces?


Hi PMJ, thank you for your post, loads of info there, think il definitely look at the Mavic 2 Pro , I did think it wasn’t going to be easy but there obviously a lot involved to get stay with in the rules, just out of interest how much is the Public Liability insurance ?


Hi Dave
Have a look at Flock is an insurance scheme for commercial drone pilots with cover being taken out on a flight-by-flight basis. This way you can pass the PLi cost directly to the customer within your quote. I did my first PFAW year on with Coverdrone for £900 which when you way up, yearly flying time due to weather conditions, on average between 160 - 180 good flying days a year. The data protection act changed last year by the EU so if you capture the neighbours property before asking their permission, they can now call the Police and say you are spying on them in their garden or looking into their property. So in post edit, you must make sure the person is blurred out and the neighbours property must be masked. I now has a matter of course, when caring out roof inspections or aerial property photography, I get them to sign a consent form for my flight log which is displayed in the front of my Operation Manual. Weddings have the same issue, all the Weddings I film the summer, I make the Bride & Groom add to their invitations that they are going to be Aerial filmed and do they have any issues with been captured on film ,yes or no, simples. All it takes is 1 member of the public now to take a dislike to a drone and they can call the local Police, who have to respond. Just cover every avenue when it comes to paper work and follow the CAA Drone code.


I doubt the majority of UK residents would even know that? :thinking:

I’d insist on the customer dealing with their neighbours and have the customer simply hand you back the signed forms, there’s now way I’d be knocking on peoples doors on behalf of someone else and chasing them down for a signature.

I’m still looking for a source of this whole PfCO / flying over neighbours thing, if anyone can point me in the right direction?