News & Blog

  • Anyone being paid to fly a drone should be an approved drone operator
  • If you hire someone to fly a drone who isn't approved they may not have the required skills or insurance and will be flying illegally
If you are paying someone to fly a drone you must check that they have the necessary safety approval or you could be paying for an unsafe operator that probably won't have any insurance if things go wrong, the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) warned today.

Drones are now being used commercially every day. From surveys, to wedding photography, to estate agents filming properties and this use will continue to grow. There are thousands of CAA approved drone operators undertaking this work. But the CAA is also aware that there are a growing number of illegal operators offering to fly drones for money and potentially posing a safety risk.

Anyone being paid to fly a drone needs to be an approved operator with a CAA permission for commercial operations. This ensures the operator of the drone has the necessary flying skills, knows the safety rules and has insurance. In most cases the operator will have attended a specific training course to obtain all the skills and knowledge necessary.

Approved operators will know what is and isn't possible to safely achieve with a drone. They will also have full, comprehensive insurance. If you hire a drone operator without this and anything goes wrong you could be out of pocket or worse.

The CAA's Jonathan Nicholson said: “Anyone looking to hire a drone pilot must check that they are properly approved. That's your guarantee that you are hiring someone with the suitable qualifications and experience. And in the unlikely situation that something goes wrong and potentially property gets damaged they will have the right insurance to cover any costs.

“The UK's drone industry is expanding rapidly, but to make sure we achieve its full potential we need drone operators to follow the rules and fly safely.”
Each commercial drone operator who has been granted CAA permission will have a document from us granting the permission and setting out conditions for its use. You should ask the operator to show you his or her permission document and discuss how the drone flight you want might be achieved within the conditions of their permission.

Mark Boyt, CEO of Drone Safe Register™, a drones for hire website, said, "It's really important that anyone looking to hire a drone only uses a CAA approved operator. At Drone Safe Register we will only ever use operators with this approval and we fully support the CAA's work to alert everyone to the need to use safe and responsible drone companies.”

Gavin Wishart, Chair of commercial drone representative body the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems UK (ARPAS-UK) said: “Users of drone services are taking substantial risks, compromising safety and quality of work, unless they use CAA approved operators. With a searchable list of qualified members, ARPAS-UK Members have a Code of Conduct requiring all commercial operators to be CAA approved."

You can check the list of approved operators at