Aerial Photography - An Operators Checklist

By: Keith Mcgregor
This type of aerial photographyperfectly legal and can provide some fantastic images in the rightconditions. However, when selling the images or taking a professionalphotographer with you who will sell the images this becomes commercial aerial photography and there are many considerations which must be taken into account.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) considers these just some of theimportant questions you should ask yourself before undertaking anyflight:

Why are you taking pictures? Is there a valuable consideration being given for the flight?

  • Is this a private flight? Public Transport Flight? Or Aerial Work? Air Navigation Order 2000, Article 130.
  • Where are you going to fly?

  • Will you be close to a person, vessel, vehicle or structure? Willyou be over an assembly of persons? Rule 5 (1) (e) Rules of the Air andRule 5 (1) (d).
  • Will you be in controlled airspace?

  • Do you need clearance from an Air Traffic Control Unit? Use an up-to-date chart for the relevant area.
  • Will you be close to an Aerodrome?

  • Know the frequency for the aerodrome, make sure they know who youare and what you are doing, consider contacting them before yourarrival.
  • How long will you be in the area?

  • Minimise noise nuisance to those on the ground, consider two or three short visits rather than one long one.
  • How many people in the aircraft?

  • The minimum crew should be two, pilot and photography. Consideranother person to help lookout and practice safe techniques before theactual photography.
  • Will low flying military aircraft be a possible harzard?

  • Can you avoid their known operating heights? See safety sense leaflet 18A, AIC 107/99 (yellow 345) and UK AIP ENR 1-10-13.
  • How much equipment are you carrying?

  • What is the effect on weight and balance? Will it obstruct thecontrols or emergency exits? Make sure the photographer is briefed.
  • Will you photograph other aircraft?

  • This is formation flying! See Rule 17 (1) (c).
  • The above list of questions is not a definitive guide to the issues relating to aerial photographybut it does highlight many different aspects which must be taken intoaccount. These will clearly vary depending on the type of photographyFind Article,for example event photography will pose different problems to construction photography or progress photography due to the large gathering of people at outdoor events.

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