Skyhook’s crew members unite the diverse skillsets of an aerial camera operation. As opposed to some operators who are from ‘one side or the other’, we have over 10 years’ experience in the film and TV industry, and 20 years of unmanned aircraft expertise.
We’ve created a reliable team who know their way around a film set as much as they know the intricacies of a flight control system, and can draw up a risk assessment as well as they can compose a beautiful image.
We love our jobs, we know our stuff and a happy client is what drives us forward every day.
CAA Permission & Safety
Our safety record, and on-going relationship with the CAA and airspace authorities, means that we can steer you through the often complicated process of signing off an aerial shoot, to make it legal and safe.
There can be a lot to organise in the planning stage, but we’ve worked with high-profile clients in some of the most challenging and congested environments out there, so you can rest assured that if it’s possible, we can make it happen.
See our CAA ‘Permission for Commercial Operations’ (PfCO) document to the right. This includes night time operations, which are not given as standard. Please be aware that any other UAV operator who does not have a valid PfCO is flying illegally, and will not be insured.
If you’d like to download our PfCO for closer reference, please click below.
How high can you fly?
The CAA stipulates a UAV flight ceiling of 400 feet (120 metres). This is to keep a safe separation zone from the airspace of manned aircraft, which must keep to a minimum in-flight altitude of 500 feet.
However in rural or remote spaces, flight over 400 feet could be achieved if certain safety precautions are taken.
In special circumstances, applications can be made to the CAA to fly above the flight ceiling, even in built-up areas.
How close can you fly to people or buildings?
Flights cannot be made overhead of members of the public without their prior knowledge and agreement. Between the UAV and people or property not under our control, a horizontal separation zone must be maintained of 30m while taking off and landing, and 50m during flight.
This separation zone does not apply to anyone involved in the shoot – they will be briefed on precautions to take when near the aircraft.
The same applies for buildings and other property – as long as we have consent from the owner, we can fly close.
Within the UK, if flying within 150 metres of built-up areas or near large crowds, Skyhook must make an application to the Civil Aviation Authority for clearance. The application can take up to 14 days, so shoot locations and dates must be given to Skyhook with enough time for this process to be carried out.
Can you fly in rain / wind?
We can fly at wind speeds of up to 22mph gust, in a temperature range of -10°C to 40°C. Steadiness is largely related to weather conditions so we recommend a maximum wind speed of 15mph for the smoothest shot.
Flying in light snow is possible, but due to the open nature of the aircraft’s components and not wanting any water on the lens, we cannot fly in any rain.
What if the weather is bad on my shoot?
When you book a date with us, we automatically include 1 day either side for weather contingency. As the date approaches, we use advanced forecasting services to monitor the weather on that date. Up to 48 hours before the shoot, either Skyhook or the Client can make the call that the weather will be unsuitable, and the shoot can be rebooked at no extra charge.
How long can you be airborne per flight?
This depends on factors including the specific aircraft, the weight of the payload and weather conditions, but it is usually 7-10 minutes per battery. We can land, replace batteries and take off again within a couple of minutes.
Can I see what is being filmed?
We have a video downlink to our ground station, giving live images to the camera operator. We have a second Director’s monitor so you can have the same image.
Can you fly to a specific height / track at specific velocity?
Yes – we have an on-screen display which gives live details of altitude, velocity, distance from home point etc,. so we can fly to precise positions, and respond to your direction in real-time.
What cameras can you can lift?
Our MovieHook aircraft is configured to lift cameras weighing up to 5 or 6 kg, allowing us to fly RED Epic/Dragon, and Sony F55. The heavier cameras actually make the aircraft more stable during flight. However, flight time is directly proportional to payload weight, so we strip cameras down as much as possible to allow for maximum time in the air.
Our mid-weight camera of choice is the Sony A7s, but we can also fly Canon 5D, Canon 1D, Blackmagic Cinema, Sony FS700, GoPro and others. Call us for more details!
Can you fly indoors?
Yes, and this is also covered by our insurance. Warehouses, large studios and concert halls are all possible with our larger UAVs. For tight spaces, we recommend our smaller aircraft, Minihook.
Will the shots be as smooth as a jib?
It depends on the weather, more specifically the wind. If there is low or no wind, you will have a 400-foot jib on set!
Can you fly a complicated route?
We can fly any route, as long as it is safe. Most of our flying is done manually by our skilled pilots, but there is also the option of entering GPS coordinates or ‘waypoints’, which would enable to aircraft to fly exactly the same route time after time.
You haven’t answered my question!
If there is anything else you would like to know, please get in touch with us through the Contact page. We’d love to hear from you!