Drone Reconnaissance Services Ltd is an Ashford, Kent - based company providing aerial imagery, mapping, survey, photogrammetry, inspection and sensor services to commercial, agricultural and industrial clients, mainly in the Kent, Sussex and Surrey areas.
Our Director of Operations is Adrian Westwood. Adrian comes from a background in public relations, corporate communications, emergency planning and crisis management in the energy, environmental and construction sectors and for local and central government. He has worked with the Environment Agency, Natural England and the OU Geological Society, and is a keen archaeologist, geologist, historian, writer, backpacker and explorer. He holds the CAA Permission for Commercial Operations and the TQUK Ofqual Level 4 Award for Commercial Drone Pilots.
Pilot qualifications, registration and CPD
DRS Remote Pilots are registered with the CAA and hold the CAA Permission for Commercial Operations. The PfCO is gained following successful completion of a written examination, practical flight test and Operations Manual approval. DRS Remote Pilots have logged many hours flying time with different UAVs and maintain an ongoing knowledge of UAV legislation, development, equipment and applications. They are permitted to fly UAVs up to 20kg take-off weight. As part of their Continuous Professional Development they undertake training courses, attend industry seminars and conferences and monitor forums to gain a greater appreciation of the UAV industry, potential and best practice. The UAV industry is rapidly changing and this attention to detail ensures DRS clients receive the most up-to-date advice and service.
The PfCO requires a Remote Pilot to have an in-depth understanding of the following procedures:-
UAV Airspace Operating Principles
Airmanship and Aviation Safety
Air Law and Responsibilities
Air Navigation Charts
Crew Resource Management
UAV drone pilots holding the CAA-issued PfCO have undergone vigorous training and have been assessed by CAA-approved instructors to prove their skills comply with the UK’s aviation rules and regulations. These rules and regulations are set to keep the public safe from harm and to prevent damage to property. A drone in the wrong hands can cause serious damage or endanger lives. This may sound dramatic but, when you think these drones can fly up to 50mph and weigh up to 20kg, they could do some real damage if they collided with someone or something.
When hiring a drone pilot always ask to see their CAA-issued PfCO and commercial insurance with public liability. The insurance must comply with all the requirements defined by the regulation EC785/2004. If they do not have this or are not willing to show you, then walk away for your own peace of mind and safety.
By law anybody operating a drone commercially, meaning, charging for a service or the use of the images and/or videos for the purpose of receiving work or money or promotion, then a PfCO is needed. If in doubt call the CAA and they can help.
Drone Reconnaissance Services is also a member of ARPAS UK – the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems. ARPAS is the professional body and trade association for commercial UAV pilots in the UK and represents them at UK and EU level and with the CAA and Department for Transport to influence regulation and promote safe operational best practice.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs)
DRS has access to the latest industrial-grade commercial UAVs, including DJI Mavic 2 Pro, DJI Phantom 4 Pro and DJI Inspire 2. Between them they are capable of handling most industrial and commercial aerial photography, mapping, surveying, thermal imagery and inspections requirements. The UAVs record digital data in Ultra-HD 4K video and up to 20 megapixel still images, using the latest in camera gimbal stabilization technology.
DJI is world’s largest UAV developer and manufacturer and supplies companies around the globe due to their UAVs’ proven reliability, build quality, long flight times and interchangeable parts and payloads. SEE DJI WEBSITE LINKS BELOW.
Our UAVs, Lithium Polymer batteries, camera and sensor payloads and ground and safety equipment are maintained to the highest standards in accordance with our CAA-approved operating procedures.
Mavic 2 Pro
Phantom 4 Pro
Risk Assessment, Pre-Flight Surveys, Ground and Safety Equipment and Insurance
The CAA demands the highest level of safety whether in flight or on the ground to minimise and prevent collisions with other aerial users and injury or damage to people and property on the ground. DRS flight and ground crews abide by strict health-and-safety protocols at all times. Their ground equipment includes cones, signage and barrier tape to ensure safe take-off/landing areas, and fire extinguishers and blankets, first aid kits, goggles and fire-retardant gloves in case of UAV crashes and fires.
Drone Reconnaissance Services is fully insured against injury and damage with £1million public liability with Flock Insurance underwritten by Allianz Global Corporate and Speciality SE.
Before any operation is agreed with the client, a comprehensive risk assessment and pre-flight survey is undertaken to identify any possible obstacles and limitations to the flight and dangers to people and property, and to ensure the flight operation can be carried out in accordance with CAA regulations.
Drone Reconnaissance Services holds the CAA Permission for Commercial Operations (PfCO) which means they are governed and regulated by the CAA and must abide by various Air Navigation Orders. This means some operations will not be possible or will require authorisation from the CAA and/or Air Traffic Control, which may take time to secure.
The PfCO allows DRS Remote Pilots to operate under specific limitations and conditions. The main operational conditions are:-
Maintaining 50m distance from people and property not in control of the pilot.
During take-off and landing maintain 30m distance from people and property not in control of the pilot.
Permission of the landowner to take off and land.
Do not fly directly overhead or within 150m of an open-air assembly of more than 1,000 people.
Fly to a maximum height of 400ft above ground level.
Maintain visual line of sight to a maximum distance of 500m.
Only fly during daylight hours, so that you can clearly see the UAV and take avoiding action from other air users if required.
Outside of controlled airspace.
Restrictions apply to certain areas of Central London and additional permissions to fly in these areas need to be sought from the CAA.
Restrictions and rules apply to flying near an airport and aerodrome.
DRS Remote Pilots ensure they do not break any privacy laws, and as the UAV will be used to take images or video we must ensure we stick to the CAA regulations. These are set out to try to help protect people’s privacy as well as safety. We are not permitted to fly within 50 metres of people, vehicles or any structure out of our control. (we can take off and land at least 30 metres from them). We are, however, allowed to fly over them at heights of greater than 50 metres. We are not allowed to fly within 150 metres of organised open-air gatherings of 1,000 people or more, or congested areas. We will work with you to put together a flight plan that is within all applicable laws and regulations.
'UAVs eqipped with ultra HD video cameras can be used to inspect commercial and civil infrastructure to look for any signs of trouble with less risk of falling or exposure to hazards'