Drone Media at Blue Whale Media

Here at Blue Whale Media, we decided to branch out into the videography sector as a new service of ours. This included the inclusion of drone media and in order for us to fulfil this, we would need to obtain a PFCO. As a digital marketing agency, we believed that not many others were venturing out into drone media and therefore we found a great opportunity to explore into this market. We would use drones in order to help us film commercial videos and create stunning aerial imagery.

What is a PFCO (Permissions for Commercial Operations)?

A PFCO is essentially a drone licence and is something you need to obtain in order to film for commercial purposes. Without this filming commercially wouldn’t be allowed. A PFCO also allows you to undergo certain permissions which you wouldn’t be allowed without one. With a PFCO the separation distance to structures is only 50m with regards to sub-7kg UAVs however without a PFCO the distance is 150m.

How to obtain a PFCO?

In order to obtain a PFCO, there are many various processes you have to go through. First, you have to book a course where you will undertake a ground school theory test and a flight assessment. With this, the insurance of the drone is required. Once all this completed and passed an operations manual is required. This is required regardless of whether you’re a freelancer or an agency. An operations manual basically outlines all your operations in regards to drone flying. When this is complete you can pass this over to the CAA who approve it and give you a PFCO.

What is an Operations Manual?

An Operations Manual is a document of all your operations and basically an overview of your business and how it is going to operate in terms of filming commercially. This is a legal requirement made by the CAA. This can be quite a lengthy process from start to finish in terms of amendments being made etc. It roughly takes the CAA 28 days to respond to your operations manual.

Who are the CAA

The CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) is the UK governing body for all civil Aviation that takes place in the UK. The CAA is the regulating body for any drone sub 150kg. Anything above this weight category is managed by the EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency).

The overall Process of getting your PFCO

Here at Blue Whale Media, we started the process of our drone service back in January. This has proven to be quite and lengthy process, but something with great worth at the end. When completing the theory and practical test, I was given a recommendation certificate which gives me suitable evidence to the CAA that I am competent in flying a drone safely and legally. Sending this over with the operations manual will be enough in order for the CAA to approve you having Permissions for commercial operations.

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