I am Jason - 42 years old in the Midlands UK.
I have been a recreational quad flyer for just over a year - using a flywheel f450 with a go pro - no fpv set up yet.
I run my own specialised cleaning business and have done for 10 years but i would like to become CAA certified and i am just about to book the course. I would like to then get a better set up and then slowly start doing some commercial work, probably free at first to build a portfolio before setting about trying to make a career from it.
Any help from experienced pilots would be great - about how to go about it, what work is out there, best set up and camera etc. I am a novice photographer as well - my son is very good and has studied photography for a few years and is going to help on that side but the set ups to go for are confusing at the moment. I like the DJI 800 & 900 but i know someone who has bought an Inspire on the basis thats a good place to start commercially. My thinking is an 800 Evo would be better with better stability and choice of camera but the Inspire out of the box system looks good, although i am thinking to truly learn i would be better piecing a package together like the Evo.
Any way - any help would be great and if there is anyone near Tamworth in Staffordshire willing to give tips that would be a huge step forward!!
I am based in Nottingham, but have been doing alot of work at Thorpe Constantine, just North of Tamworth and at Rougeley. My main work is in agriculture, but this is nearly all funded by various research grants. You need to decide if you're doing aerial photography / video or industrial inspoections or mapping, or a combination? Most people are earning money doing aerial filming and photography work, but its a very crowded market place, you'll be competing with the likes of Upper Cut Productions in Nottingham or Aerial Aspect Imaging on the Notts/Derbyshire border. Check out the ARPAS membership list which is around 150 or so, plus the register at the CAA which lists all the current certified organisations 862 Currently certified by UK CAA Most of these are one man bands, but some are big organisations like the BBC and CyberHawk Innovations, with many operators certified under their respective Permission For Aerial Work.
There were 359 with PFAW in October last year, so a rise of over 100% in 8 months and most of those where during the winter, so I would predict it will pass 1,000 by the end of this year!
A really good source of help in choosing the right rig is Pete King at the Droneshop.biz, he's based on the otherside of Cannock, so very close to you.
If you "friend" me, next time I'm flying down at Thorpe I will drop you a PM and may be we can meet up there, I operate a quad, a Y6 and a few planes under LLEO Limited.
Just want to say a huge thank you for replying with such great information.
I have wanted to try it for a while now but keep putting it off with the thoughts i am too old to change direction on career - especially one which is so new & diverse and rapidly expanding. Then someone i know in the same boat as me and same age as me in Cornwall has taken the plunge and booked the course for CAA and its inspired me to give it a go. I understand the difficulty of maybe getting work from it and that its maybe becoming crowded but as i have been self employed for 10 years in a market place that is massively crowded i figure i have nothing to lose as i can continue in my present role and train for this in my spare time for now.
As regards what i want to do exactly - i think a combination at first and if i become lucky enough to specialise then i will.
I know Thorpe Constantine - i will friend you now and your invitation to come see you fly there is really appreciated and i would love the chance to do that. I can arrange my time as i like being self employed but if you do invite me at some stage if you could just try to give me a little notice so i can make sure i am available when you are there.
Thanks again Keith - very kind of you.