Despite all the hype and yapping about what the Daily Mail thinks we get up to with our drones I have noticed something…most people are very approachable about allowing sites they have access to filmed, especially if they are approached the right way. Not wanting to teach anyone to suck eggs but I thought I would share three experiences I recently had which may help sell our hobby to other non flyers and allow access beyond the Jobsworthy nope that is usually rolled out by the unknowing.
I wanted to fly my Mavic P. down near my parents in Shoeburyness, Essex, which has a nice beach. Only downside - it falls right within the Southend Airport footprint. Nothing ventured…nothing gained, so I got the number for Air traffic Control at the airport and asked for permission…expecting nothing but NOPE NOT EVER EVER. Well colour me surprised. After a conversation which was clearly gauging my knowledge of the DroneCode they granted permission and only asked I let them know when I started and finished. Tip 1 - know the rules and be prepared to answer questions about them. And give ATC a call where you are. They might allow you a flight in that area you want as long as they know you’re there.
I found an awesome water tower near an awesome church and asked the owners and controllers for permission to fly them. An offer of free copies of the stills granted me permanent access anytime and I made new pro drone friends out of reluctant people who didn’t know what it was all about. Tip 2 - ask the owners of cool sites for access and they might say yes because you took time to be polite. I have had a couple of anti’s actually become my new supporters because I showed them what I was doing and now I have a new set of followers of people who are looking forward to watching my movies when I make them. (They’ll have to make do with my diving movies until I film and edit the Mavic ones )
I wanted to film a local reservoir. It falls within the drone code as a flyable area and the park itself has areas that are off limits (animal reserves etc but I didn’t want to fly there anyway). The Park Ranger was a bit officious and started telling me all about terror risk and how taking photos of the reservoir was banned. After knocking all this silly talk back on it’s bum and reasonably standing my ground the ranger was still an officious so and so buuuuutttt…he also told me where to go where I was off reservoir property and had access to what i wanted…so I guess Tip 3 - Stand your ground but keep your cool. All we need is some drone dude to tell someone on film to get and f themselves and that will be the start of the old lizards in power waking up and restricting everything.
Remember…no-one owns the sky!!!