If you're looking to hire a drone operator to take those amazing pictures or video from above or to undertake something as straight forward as a roof survey, make sure you choose wisely! You may have a Nephew with his nifty Christmas present begging you to let him do if for beer but what happens when his drone falls out the sky? Won't happen you say? Well today a CAA approved operator, Malcolm Davidge, was carrying out what he thought to be a routine Solar Panel inspection after being hired by a client.
All pre-site checks were duly carried out along with site surveys and risk assessments. All ok. Next, Airframe and payload checks for air-worthyness before take off. All good. Job was going well when suddenly, the drone, without warning simply fell from the sky smashing itself and two Solar Panels to pieces!
Its worth noting at this point that Malcolm was not at fault in ANY way for the incident. All checks were carried out beforehand, flight was undertaken under guidelines and no fly 'rules' were broken.
The operator comments are below (I removed any expletives):
"The M600 did a couple of flips and fell from the sky within a matter of seconds from flashing a warning about the controller - just goes to show it can happen at any moment and reminds me to fly as safe as possible. Unfortunately two innocent solar panels were terminally damaged" - Malcolm Davidge.
BUT because he carried out all the due diligence & recorded them and of course was insured and approved the insurance company will be covering all the damage costs to both drone and just as importantly, the clients Solar Panels.
Why would we want this in this kind of incident in the public domain? Simple. Imagine if the company had hired his Nephew and it fell to the ground smashing two solar panels in the process...or worse? Who's going to cover the damage?
The moral here is even trained, approved, fully insured operators can't legislate for a technical failing and although this is rare, won't you be glad he or she has the backing of insurance and the CAA?
Don't risk hiring uninsured, non approved operators. Not only do you risk prosecution because its against the law, it could cost you thousands more than it needs to :-)
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