End-users that contract an unapproved drone pilot could pay dearly according to the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).
The UK-based authority has observed that, alongside the rise in commercial use of UAVs, there has been a spike in the amount of pilots carrying out paid-for work illegally.
In a bid to quash the rise of unqualified pilots, the CAA has warned end users to contract fully-licenced pilots, stating that they risk being out of pocket with illegal operators.
The CAA’s Jonathan Nicholson said: “Anyone looking to hire a drone pilot must check that they are properly approved. That’s your guarantee that you are hiring someone with the suitable qualifications and experience. And in the unlikely situation that something goes wrong and potentially property gets damaged they will have the right insurance to cover any costs.
“The UK’s drone industry is expanding rapidly, but to make sure we achieve its full potential we need drone operators to follow the rules and fly safely.”
Mark Boyt, CEO of Drone Safe Register, a drones for hire website, added: “It’s really important that anyone looking to hire a drone only uses a CAA approved operator. At Drone Safe Register we will only ever use operators with this approval and we fully support the CAA’s work to alert everyone to the need to use safe and responsible drone companies.”
Gavin Wishart, chair of commercial drone representative body the Association of Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems UK (ARPAS-UK), said: “Users of drone services are taking substantial risks, compromising safety and quality of work, unless they use CAA approved operators. With a searchable list of qualified members, ARPAS-UK Members have a Code of Conduct requiring all commercial operators to be CAA approved.”