Aerial Filming and Photography Regulations (the very basics...)

We can fly to a height of 400ft and to a distance of 500m from the take off point.

The Pilot must maintain visual line of sight of the aircraft at all times. However, the camera operator/client can enjoy the views, framing each shot beamed live to our ground monitors.

Aerial Picture Company also has the necessary CAA Permissions to conduct congested area flights – built up areas like towns and cities.

Generally speaking, there are strict rules on flying distances (50 meters) to structures, people, and vehicles. If the structures, people, and vehicles etc. are under our control, flights can be closer. We sometimes position additional ‘Spotters’ with radio contact back to the flight team to help maintain safe flight and ground control during operations.

Aerial Filming during rain is a no-no. Our aircraft can tolerate moisture but we do not take off in rain and rigorously follow the Rain Radar. Also, nobody wants to have rain on the camera lens! We can fly and film in winds up to 40kph and our aircraft are fitted with cutting-edge stabilisation technology including camera gimbals to ensure super-smooth footage.

In the most part and with good planning, flying and filming is possible without additional permissions providing the landowner (at the take-off point) is happy for us to do so and flight distances are maintained.

Like all countries, the UK has restricted and sensitive airspace. Advance planning and scheduling and securing the necessary permissions can make operations possible.

The Law

Aerial Picture Company operates within the strict regulations set out by the CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) for aerial filming, photography and image capture. Anyone operating Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) for commercial purposes must be qualified, licensed and hold permission from the CAA. This is a legal requirement in the UK.

Obtaining the necessary training and qualifications for competent and safe commercial flying involves a substantial investment. To obtain our permission from the CAA, Aerial Picture Company and its Pilots underwent a programme of intense training and attended ground school before completing flight assessments for each and every aircraft in our fleet.

When deciding which aerial filming company suits your needs it’s really important that you make sure the company is fully insured, has the relevant experience, training, and qualifications and are following all the legal flying procedures. Safety is paramount.

There are companies providing aerial filming and photography illegally – without CAA permission and therefore without valid commercial insurance. Employing the services of those companies and individuals can carry heavy penalties. Put simply, without the correct training, qualifications, and permissions from the CAA any work carried out for commercial purposes carries unacceptable risks.


Safety is the most important part of our flying and filming process – right from the beginning of preparation to the delivery of your rushes or film.

When we’re out filming the safety of those being filmed, those filming and the general public is the primary concern of our crew. There are some factors we have to consider before we can take off, and all of these will be explained thoroughly with you before filming, as well as a thorough pre-deployment survey prior to the shoot, we also conduct an on-site survey on the day of operation as well as completing a full risk assessment for each individual shoot.

All our aircraft are GPS stabilised and fitted with ‘failsafe’ & ‘return to launch’ systems for peace of mind in the event of an emergency. We are delighted to report after a great many flying hours an emergency has never occurred although we perform regular drills to test each fail-safe and procedure.

Aerial Picture Company is a preferred supplier of aerial filming to the BBC with whom we regularly work. We are also vetted and approved by 1st Option Safety.