On the off chance that you hadn’t heard, there is a huge problem that the world is facing right now. The coronavirus COVID19 Pandemic is like a super-flu that is spreading from human to human, and if left unchecked has the potential to kill millions of people around the globe.
The Uk Prime Minister, Boris Johnson has put the nation on what is effectively a lock down in a bid to combat the spread of the virus, and hopefully ease the pressure on the NHS, meaning that they will be better able to cope with increased demand when the virus peaks.
So what has this got to do with drone photography? Well, with the country almost being on shutdown, this has meant a bit of a contradiction for the drone industry. As CAA approved drone operators, we are bound by the rules handed to us in CAP722, which generally mean that distance is required from anything for us to operate. Which given the rules on social distancing, it is absolutely fine and we are well used to it. Nobody got into drones because they were popular anyway.
We need the approval of landowners to be where we need to be and anyone in our operational area needs to be briefed and under our control. This often means a lot of door knocking and speaking to the public, which presents a problem with social interaction, especially when concerned with containing the spread of a virus. Just to be clear, at time of posting, there are a lot of people who are self isolating and should not be opening the door to strangers.
So whilst towns and cities are a lot quieter as businesses close down to help fight the spread, it is not always easier to conduct the drone photography mission.
So how does this affect drone photography?
Then it comes to the businesses shutting down. The Chancellor of the Exchequer has laid down a pretty generous fiscal package, albeit with some exceptions and so many businesses are not just choosing, but also financially able to close down for a few weeks. One of the main industries in the news that actually got a bit of stick for not closing down quickly enough was the construction industry. Drone operators work quite closely with the construction industry, offering drone photography for architects or surveyors, so naturally as the industry has closed down, so has the need for ad hoc services like drone photography.
The events industry has also faced quite a downturn in services. Public gatherings are banned for the foreseeable further, and hence most councils have postponed all weddings before September 2020. This has pretty much killed off the wedding season for 2020, and suppliers have scrambled their schedules to rearrange. Luckily for us, all our brides opting for our wedding videography package have either not been affected or we have been able to rearrange with their new dates. This gives us great pride that we can provide the services they require, but fully understand the anxiety and apprehension that this has caused for them.
The CAA have offered an extension to drone permissions and reduced requirements for flight hours in response to the coronavirus outbreak and our insurers, Flock have offered a cash reward for anyone who can use drones for good in this global pandemic.
What are we doing about it?
We have made the conscious decision to now suspend our drone photography for hire for the duration of the lockdown period, which, and I’m going to put this on record here and now, I think will be extended by 2 weeks following the original 3 week period. We have been applying for permissions from Blackpool ATC to fly from the back garden, and will probably continue to do so whilst in isolation, just because we love drone photography, and we look forward to seeing you all when this is all over.