Skyhook drone operators
Skyhook has been in the unmanned aerial cinematography game since 2012, making us one of the original operators in the UK drone business.
Our crew come from both the film industry and the R/C aircraft worlds. We thrive on the challenges of working in difficult locations that require technical flying and slick camerawork. Our work has taken us to all corners of the UK, from the jungles of Panama to the frozen lakes of Lapland, the mountains of Switzerland and the volcanoes of Lanzarote.
We can work on large productions just as well as self-direct in a small crew, and our team have worked together for long enough to achieve a true symbiosis while in flight.
The professional market has been overrun with have-a-go operators, delivering substandard products and compromising safety by cutting corners.
In contrast, our experience and professional approach will ensure that your project can be planned safely, and delivered within the law. Our Approved Supplier status with 1st Option Safety Group is a testament to our safety record.
Our work speaks for itself, and there is unquestionable value to being ready to deliver when the Director says ‘drone up’.
CAA Permission & Safety
Our safety record and ongoing relationship with the CAA and airspace authorities means that we can steer you through the often complicated process of signing off an aerial job, making it safe, legal and accountable.
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 on this page, which is the official document declaring a UAV operator’s legitimacy to perform commercial work. This includes a permission for night time operations, which is 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 the link below.
Frequently Asked Questions
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 consent. Between the UAV and people, property or roads not under our control, a horizontal separation zone must be maintained of 30m while taking off and landing, and 50m during flight (see clause 2(e) of our PfCO).
This separation zone does not apply to clients or staff on-site—they will have been briefed of the presence of the drone before flights take place, putting them under the control of the pilot.
As long as we have notified and received consent from neighbouring residents or businesses, we can fly as close as is necessary.
Within the UK, in certain situations requiring flights within 150 metres of built-up areas or large crowds, Skyhook must make an application to the Civil Aviation Authority for clearance. Approval of this 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. Please get in touch for more information on this.
Can you fly in rain/wind?
We can fly in wind speeds of up to 30mph gust, in a temperature range of -10°C to 40°C.
Some of our aircraft are water resistant, though if taking pictures that rely on clarity, little can be done for rain on the lens, so we strongly advise on zero precipitation for jobs like this.
For mapping jobs where the camera is facing straight down towards the ground, this reduces the chance of water on the lens, so we can be more flexible here in terms of precipitation.
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. Please get in touch for more information on our weather terms.
How long can you be airborne per flight?
This depends on factors including the specific aircraft, temperature and weather conditions and the weight of the payload, but it is usually between 1 and 20 minutes per flight. We can land, replace batteries and take off again within a couple of minutes.
Can I see the image while you are airborne?
We have a live video downlink to our ground station, with a separate monitor for the client. We usually recommend that the client or a representative is present on the day to give live feedback as the job happens, e.g. a surveyor guiding the pilot to points of interest discovered during the flight.
Can you fly indoors?
Yes, and this is also covered by our insurance. In addition to the skilled piloting required to fly in these spaces, many of our drones also have collision avoidance sensors.
Zoom lenses also help us to inspect certain items at more detail, whilst flying at a safe distance from the subject.
For flights in confined, hazardous or structurally unsound places, please see the information on our collision-tolerant drone.
Can you fly any route?
We can fly any route, as long as it is safe. Most of our flying is done manually by our skilled pilots, but we also make use of autonomous flights for the purposes of mapping, where the drone is programmed to fly in grid section (like a lawnmower) up and down the site to take the images which will be stitched to create the map.
Flying these ‘waypoint missions’ can be repeated, and will allow the creation of maps showing the progress of a site’s construction over 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!
Outstanding service from initial contact through to the final shot and delivery. They raised the level of production far past our expectations. Very experienced in what they do, adaptable to what the day threw at us and delivered some fantastic work. Will work with them in the future and would highly recommend them to anyone who wants to take their production to the next level. Skyhook are the real deal.
Skyhook helped us out on a logistically challenging shoot with utter professionalism and got us a fantastic final product. Highly recommended!
Fantastic expertise and very knowledgeable. We have had several drone shoots so far which have been quite challenging (filming for CGI/camera tracking) and Skyhook has delivered each time.
A brilliant team, who provided some excellent shots for our branded content series. We were so happy to work with them and wouldn’t hesitate to recommend them to anyone else.
Fantastic eye for the perfect aerial shot, very professional, and easy to work with. Initially commissioned to create content for a Welsh Water online promo, Skyhook’s footage was subsequently used on BBC News (broadcast and online), which was a testament to their good work.
Chris and the team at Skyhook are second to none within the aerial filming industry. They take safety and the strict regulations seriously while at the same time capturing stunning images. Use these guys, they’re good.
Skyhook proved to be a great asset to this programme. They were ready to go and in position when required. A lot of their material made it into the final edit which we already had a number of cameras covering, so this is a testament to their work. Very easy to work with and with a number of drones to choose from.
Working with Skyhook was great. They are friendly, efficient and very professional. The preparation and permit application went smoothly. The shoot day went like clockwork and we got all the shots we needed – and more. The footage looks great. Highly recommended!
Skyhook were great to use on our recent promotional film for Southern Water. Some stories can only be told from the air, and the footage shot for this really brought a huge sense of scale and impressiveness to the final film. Skyhook were receptive to my needs, efficient and a valuable asset to any production.
Chris and his team were very professional and hard-working, providing us with excellent footage and generally being a pleasure to work with. I look forward to working with them again in the future.
Skyhook really impresses with impeccable safety and professionalism. The versatility that they can offer with this unique way of shooting is freeing and inspiring. Not only do they offer a brilliant service but the way in which they do so is why we would use Skyhook again and again. They are incredibly easy to get on with and combined with a creative flair that will allow you to get the most out of this state of the art technology.
Hugely helpful and accommodating in our request to film a drone shoot in the centre of London. From the start, they realistically set our expectations as to what was possible but also worked really hard to make the shoot happen in difficult circumstances. The whole Skyhook team were great and we were really pleased with the results — dynamic and unique footage for the documentary.
It was great working with the Skyhook team. They were very informative about the procedures of drone filming and accommodating while we organised locations and dates. They took direction very well and were a genuine pleasure to work with. We managed to film some dynamic beautiful footage which added an incredible perspective to the video.