Motivation

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Part of Freelance Friday’s theme is TV freelancing, ok I am not working in TV at the moment and it’s not Friday but I thought what the heck!  A few ideas for you as a number of my freelance friends are frustrated at the lack of work and lack of purpose.   Why are you managing to stay positive? They ask and actually I am not positive all the time, this lockdown is hard.

Today I woke up and thought that I don’t have any paid work yet but I do have projects I am working on but they may or may not bring cash to pay the mortgage. I am sick of chasing a well known broadcaster for expenses and if I knew where to escalate this to I would.  I have a feeling eventually I will get the money, but for now I just have to leave it to people who have a regular salary and don’t understand the pressure the rest of us are under. Clients are not paying invoices I think using this as an opportunity not to pay.

If this time in the world right now is ours, then we need to be of use.  So I am helping organise a charity film and I have been helping my vulnerable neighbours do their shopping they are in the over 70s category and currently I am following UK government guidelines and checking in to check they are ok.  I knock on the door then stand well back in the street.  Any shopping I have brought to them I have insisted that they wipe down and then wash hands and to be precise about doing this.  We  have a chat and that has been great for me as much as for them.

With the NHS film I finally feel of use , I am just gathering shots and putting the right people in contact, but it feels good to be of use.

So the question is what is your skill set ? If you are not well then no you can’t go out and can’t help people but if you are in what can you do from home?  There is absolutely no pressure to do anything but keep your home life together but what else could you do to give structure to your day?

What is remarkable is what is happening locally to you.

We have a group of local crafters in the next town who are raising money for scrubs as PPE and clothing is in short supply as a lot is made in china and now there is also a global demand.  The group is on Facebook perhaps if you have as sewing machine and you are handy like that they you could search  For the Love of Scrubs and find a group near you. I donated money and some fabric yesterday, my craft skills are not up to scratch.

If you have a 3D printer there are groups and open source instructions and there’s a group in Wales where 4000 people are creating 20 each that is 8000 visors by the end of this week!

Have you thought about volunteering at your local foodbank?

Also other worldwide facebook groups are your local Covid-19 Mutual Aid group. For example search Manchester Covid-19 Mutual Aid and you will see a massive community of people.   There has never been a stronger sense of community and kindness, so if you fall ill you can all on this group or offer your help to others.

If like me you can only support one or two people extra  and be on an Facebook group to helit will mean we will get through this time.

To give yourself sense of purpose is the most important thing, if you are working from home and haven’t yet got into a routine and are finding it difficult the next blog post will help you. I have worked from home for over 10 years on and off and may have to adapt to working full-time in an office again.

Top tips – these were shared with me by a counsellor friend. 

  • Don’t listen to the radio repeating the news
  • Only listen to the News once a day, this will keep you informed.  I have chosen a mid afternoon
  • Get outside even if it is just for 10 minutes
  • Don’t sit on social media reading all the news articles
  • Create some kind of routine for yourself and agree with others what that will look like.
  • Tidy your space, create some order
  • Take time out from one another – be that in another room if you have one, if not both listen to music with headphones on low and sit separately.
  • Plan meals and TV watching
  • Read books
  • Look for a cheap hobby anything from painting to origami, knitting and crochet
  • There is no pressure to achieve anything just staying upright is enough for now and you will feel motivated soon.
  • Talk to friends and family and keep talking.
  • If you are working it is ok to acknowledge that you might not actually be able to focus on many tasks.

Stay safe and well

Carys

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Freelance Friday’s

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For a while I had been thinking of writing every Friday about Freelance tips, then in January I got ill with a coughing virus – no idea if this was The virus or just a virus? Then I had surgery minor but it knocked me off my feet for most of February. I was also lacking in motivation I think I needed my brain to heal as well. Bless the NHS, I felt so grateful then and much more now.  I am just getting my motivation back and the whole world stops.  So this explains my absence for the last 3 months.

This blog post will have some links to help UK Freelancers and UK Freelance TV Pros, then I will be doing general posts in future for freelancing in general.

FINANCES

I know many freelancers the main priority is support financially and if you are in Film and TV,  I am going to list some useful places as I am not an expert.

Best source I have found is Martin Lewis – Money Saving expert has a show on ITV on a Thursday.  He is great even if you are not from the TV industry but he does seem to have some of the answers

BECTU are doing an excellent job talking to the treasury and I urge you to join if you can. I have been a member for so many years they are a great resource.

ScreenSkills as well are lobbying aswell but main thing they are doing is supporting mental health, they are also running training sessions which will be going online at somepoint.

Facebook group –People who are available for work in TV – name of group aside this has some very good champions of the cause, and lots of advice.

Then also Film and TV Charity– are assisting with hardship payments don’t know much more but also they are supporting mental health. Please go and look at those pages and text a friend if you are suffering. At this time more than ever we need to keep reaching out.

If you are a freelancer or small business in the UK then these handy flowcharts produced by Helen Fleet of  AJ Fleet and Co

For self employed :-

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For the small business owner

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What ever you do, don’t panic speak to your accountant.  Check all business outgoings and also all personal outgoings and what can you cancel. I have cancelled all those things I can and that have no benefit to me currently.

If you run a UK drone company PFCO renewals are being extended by 3 months.  Read the handy blog guide from Elliot from Global Drone Training

Stay safe and well

The Drone Lass

 

 

 

 

Happy New Year! Farewell 2019.

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There is a lot of summing up going on, blogs and news outlets and social media posts which is good but as someone who doesn’t plan too much and doesn’t do resolutions and with a tendency for a very positive outlook, I can tend to be tinged with sadness. I don’t want to look back at the last year and last decade too much.

Professionally I should plan and react more.  Hell I haven’t even wrote up about my Australian trip to World of Drones congress. I can only cite lack of time or because I now take timeout to rest, but next year less social media for me – I will still post but limit the mindless scrolling, maybe that will free up some time?   A difficult one as most of my work and network comes from social media.  No more TV box sets I might have only just joined a streaming service but this holiday I have done a lot of binge watching and it’s not good for me. I am happy to be out of the cultural TV loop!  I know TV people who don’t own a TV, I won’t go that far!

At the start of the decade Drones were in their infancy but technology was being developed and has exploded so much that you can get a drone from a high street store in most parts of the world. It is mind blowing that we are now going into the year that sci-fi chose as iconic date.  It looks like we have driverless cars on their way, and we have drone taxi’s and they will become more common.

Where we are at now is that we have pressing issues in the environment, plastic pollution, animals and insects going extinct at an alarming rate, global warming is happening. The world on fire from the Arctic to Australia.

2018 was devastating on my own door steps the moors burnt for weeks. I truly believe that drones will help will be developed to counteract some of the issues we are facing.  The Plastic tide is one such application where drones are assisting and there are a lot more and I plan to cover some of those in blog posts in the New Year. (yeah, I am not setting any goals)   I have seen the future of all the possibilities by some of the industry leaders speaking at the drone events I have been at this year.

What do you think we will see in drone tech in the next decade? What developments? I think automation will become more common place and perhaps drone pilots will not exist at all.  Who knows but I look forward to it unfolding.  Next year we have here in the UK the EASA regulations being adopted it is not going to be the simple process but I am happy to be guided by the CAA and Eliot and Jonathan from Drone training.

In 2019 – I never expected it to unfold as it it did, I have had many opportunities that I feel so lucky to have had. To become a drone training instructor has been just amazing. Thank you to the whole team at Drone Training, especially Eliot and Jonathan for having faith in me. It’s been an amazing learning opportunity joining the team.   Got to fly for some amazing TV productions and companies.  Thank you to Eastwood Media for the opportunity to pilot and camera operate for you.  Thank you to all at World of Drones Congress, especially Dr Catherine Ball.

Thank you to every single reader of this blog, social media interaction, likes of images.  Thank you to all the clients that have booked me for TV camera jobs – working for BBC Breakfast has been a goal achieved and has given me confidence in my ability and will drive to be better.  Film making  and directing work thank you clients excluding social cuts I have made 73 short form films and edited most of them.  All those who attended my creative drone workshops massive thank you.  Thank you. Thank you for the opportunities to appear on panels discussing drones, tech and gender diversity in the industry.  Thank you The Photography Show– glad to be coming back in 2020 . Thank you to the Universities that booked me to do guest lectures and demos.  Thank you to Women Who Dronewho gave me the opportunity to cover at The Commercial UAV show.

To The Female UK Drone collective – we will sort out some meet ups in 2020 I promise.

Make your resolutions and your goals if that is your thing, raise a glass if that is your thing. Drink tea in your PJs or party like a wild thing.  If you feel a bit melancholy don’t, either meet up with some friends or just go to bed and get up tomorrow is just another day with a new numerical value. Then fly a drone with a clear head, walk, run or cycle. Don’t compare yourself to others online it always looks like everyone is having an amazing time.  Some of it looks easy and gifted when actually there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes lots and lots of hours, along with the manatory, blood sweat and tears!

Here is to more tech developments in the next decade, here is to drones saving more lives and helping us with the environmental challenges we face.   Here is to more kindness in the world, and less nastiness on the internet! Here is to working with others that enhance your life and become life long friends you know who you are 😉

Happy New Year

From me

The Drone Lass

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Instagram @the_drone_lass and on twitter 

I am on FB too !

UK Drone Registration – 30th November Deadline.

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Reminder : – You have until midnight tomorrow 30th November to register and there are various scenarios covered by this useful blog post from Elliot Corke from Drone Training

In brief, register as an operator and pay £9 and then do the online test.

If you are already pro with a PFCO you don’t have to do the test but are required to have an exemption certificate from the CAA – which you email them for.

I just did the test and have printed out the certificate and will have a copy of my insurance, a copy of my PFCO and have marked my drones.

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Questions I keep being asked one regularly is I have my drone but don’t intend to fly it now till after Christmas – what do I do?  Well you can register and do the test before you fly if you don’t have time now.  If however you do fly and you are not registered then you are breaking the law and can be fined unto £1000. My recommendation is to do it ASAP, that way you won’t forget.

I have a drone and I only use it abroad / Europe do I need to register? I would check with the country you are planning on flying in, for the laws of where you are allowed to fly as a recreational drone pilot.  Then also what are they are wanting with regards to drone registration. This registration scheme is to align with EASA – European Union Aviation Safety Agency and the rules governing Europe, you should register in your home country but till we are all fully aligned you might need to register in that country as well. Further research is required.  In the future I believe you won’t need to register in each country you fly in. All European countries are to be aligned by July 2020.

You may be traveling to a country where their drone registration has not opened yet.  In which case just follow those drone laws.

How hard is the test? The test although not easy it is set to teach you about the law we currently have for recreational drone flying and also thinking about safety, weather conditions and your drone.

How long does the test take?  
Approx 20 minutes – however I took mine at speed whilst being filmed by ITV News which was a bit stressful, and can report I passed full marks.

What happens if I fail the test?  You can take it as many times as you like and just go back and read the course materials.

What happens next? You get an email to confirm both your operator number/ registration  (£9)  and your pilot registration via the test process (free), put the number on your drone and carry your pilot registration with you – you can show the electronic version to police if you are asked.

Click on this link to go to the CAA website

Please note just because you have registered your drone done the test you are not able to operate commercially, that is for any money. If you are employing a drone pilot you need to check that they have a PFCO and insurance and that is the way you will know you are employing a professional. 

Have a wonderful weekend.  On to December now and the slow down for the end of the year

The Drone Lass

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Australian Drone Laws

Oh my we have landed in Australia! I am sat here drinking berocca (other vitamin drinks are available) as it was in the wonderful welcome pack given to us on landing here for World of Drones Congress.   Something that has been on the horizon for about ten months.  Can’t believe we have finally landed, I am here with Gemma Alcock from Skybound rescuer and we couldn’t be more excited. Both of us are speaking, meeting with people and I am running a creative drone masterclass on Wednesday!

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 I thought I best find out a bit about Australian drone laws, because of course I have brought a drone with me and as I am here a while I will be flying. Also many of you have asked me about laws in other countries and yet I am not here to fly commercially I will want to fly. 

 I have connected with Tom Pils – AKA The Drone Lawyer here is a bit about him.

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Tom Pils- The Drone Lawyer

Tom has been building a practice exclusively in the area of drone law for the past 3 years. He has represented commercial drone operators in Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) investigations, advised on Applications for CASA Flight Authorisations (outside regulation approvals), and worked with insurance brokers on drone specific policies. Tom has a strong interest in drone regulation education. He regularly writes articles on legal aspects concerning drones which he publishes on his website thedronelawyer.com.au. Before focusing on drone law, Tom practised mainly in dispute resolution and litigation, as well as having extensive contract drafting & review experience. Tom’s broad range of experience serves his mission to empower drone operators through education, and to be the trusted advisor in their corner of the sky.

The Drone Lass & The Drone Lawyer: Q&A

Q. I am coming to Australia and want to bring my drone. Can I do this and what do I need to think about?

In general, drones can be brought into and flown in Australia. However, drones are quite heavily regulated and subject to a number of rules which vary depending on whether you intend to fly recreationally or commercially.

You must not operate your drone on a way that creates a hazard to another aircraft, another person, or property.

The majority of drones flown in Australia that weigh over 250 grams are subject to standard operating conditions, including:

= not to be flown within 3 nautical miles (approximately 5 kilometres) from a controlled aerodrome (generally defined as where there is an active air control tower). The rules aren’t as strict for uncontrolled aerodromes and generally speaking you can fly within 3 nautical miles of an uncontrolled aerodrome but must avoid approach and departure paths and land immediately if you see a manned aircraft.

= You’re not allowed to fly higher than 400 feet Above Ground Level.

= You need to be able to see your drone at all times when flying. That unfortunately also means you’re generally not allowed to use those awesome First Person View (FPV) immersive goggles.

= You aren’t allowed to fly at night.

= You are not allowed to fly in a ‘populous’ area. If you haven’t come across the word ‘populous’ before, join the club. Populous is of Latin origin meaning ‘people’. So…don’t fly over the people? Well, pretty much. In short, a populous area is an area where there are enough people around where if your drone malfunctions it would pose an unreasonable risk to life, safety or property of someone in the area not connected to your flying. CASA gives some examples of populous areas such as as festivals, sporting ovals, busy beaches, busy roads and footpaths.

= Stay on the lookout for others because you are not to fly within 30 metres of a person not directly associate with your flight.

= If the police or fire brigade are there, you probably shouldn’t be flying over it. This also goes for situations where any “other public safety or emergency operation is being conducted”. One risk is that there may be police or fire fighting helicopters and if you’re getting some sweet shots of the action with your drone, you may be preventing them from resolving the incident. Don’t go from checking the incident to being the incident.

Q. Where can I fly my drone in Australia and how to do work out where I can fly legally?

Ideally, you should check a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM), which are notifications that alert pilots to any potential safety hazards along a flight route or in a specified location. They can also advise of changes to aeronautical facilities, services or procedures.

However, a less complicated (but also less formal) option is the ‘OpenSky’ app, which is endorsed by CASA. This shows a map of the area in which you want to fly and shows zones where drones cannot fly, can fly under conditions, or whether there are other obstacles.

It’s important to note that even where the app may seem to permit flights, you need to also consider all of the regulations as mentioned above. So, while helpful, the app is not the be all and end all. Also, the app’s terms of use state that you must continue to check official sources for information regarding whether and where you may fly your drone. Even if the app indicates that an area appears available for drone flight or free of restrictions, it does not guarantee, recommend, or endorse the safety or legality of your use of drones in that area. Also, the app states that it is advisory only, and is not to be used for the purpose of air navigation.

Finally, if you want to fly in a National Park, you should first check with the local authorities because sadly, some National Parks have restrictions on drones while others don’t allow drones to be flown at all.

Q. I have drone accreditation from another country. Will this be recognised in Australia?

While you could apply to CASA to have a foreign endorsement or licence recognised, CASA is unlikely to recognise this and to give you the equivalent certification in Australia. This is because the Australian Remote Pilot’s Licence is unique to Australia, its airspace and regulations.

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DJI Mavic Air

Q. Are there any differences depending on whether I want to fly for fun or commercially?

For commercial use, at present in Australia, if your drone has a gross weight less than 2 kg, then you can conduct commercial operations without a licence, however you need to notify CASA before you fly and must also operate within the standard operating conditions mentioned above. If your drone’s gross weight is over 2kg, then you also need to obtain a Remote Pilot Licence and operate under a Remote Pilot Operator’s Certificate.

For recreational use, you are generally allowed to fly a drone up to 25kg without a licence but must still follow the abovementioned conditions.

Q. Is there anything else I need to consider before flying my drone in Australia?

Australia is in the process of introducing mandatory drone registration and pilot accreditation.

All drones operated commercially will need to be registered. This is anticipated to be introduced in Australia before the end of 2019.

Most drones operated recreationally that weigh more than 250 grams will need to be registered. Drones flown recreationally indoors or flown exclusively flown at a CASA-verified model airfields will not need to be registered.

Accreditation will be mandatory which will involve watching an education video and passing an online quiz.

The Drone Lawyer can be contacted via website  and on Twitter @ausdronelawyer

Tom, Thank you so much this is really really helpful and once I am off on my travels around the rest of Australia I can’t wait to fly safely and responsibly and feel this gives me confidence in where I can fly whilst I am here.  

Happy Flying everyone 

The Drone Lass

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Brisbane, World of Drones – Creative Workshop

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I am pleased to announce that I am running my  creative workshop at the World of Drones Congress in Brisbane on the Wednesday 25th of September to book and learn more please visit the The World of Drones congress website

 

Location Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Exhibition Hall 1, Hospitality Suite

Date Wednesday 25 September 2019

Time 9:30am – 4:30pm

Cost $225

Feedback from drone ops I have trained in the UK:-

‘Firstly thank you very much for all your help.  I thoroughly enjoyed the way you delivered the training. I also appreciate your patience and help! ” – Mark Pollard 

“I am raring to get going now, I have a greater understanding of what drone settings are best for video.” Joolze Dymond , Professional sports Photographer.

“Thank you, I enjoyed the workshop very much and now I feel equipped to improve my showreel and video work all-round” Roy Morris, Aerial Aspect

“The Drone Training with Carys was invaluable, I enjoyed it that much that I went on to book a 121 session of training with her as well.  I definitely left the training a lot more confidence”. Vicky Louise. 

I am looking forward to meeting you all, I do hope you can attend

The Drone Lass – AKA Carys

 

 

 

 

The World of Drones Congress

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In just over a month before I head out to the The World of Drones Congress. (WoDC) in Brisbane. I was invited back in December 2018 and got official request to attend in February. It felt like a life time ago but as with all things,  it is now fast coming up on the horizon. I feel very honoured to be invited.

Since  I have known about the WoDC, I have wanted to attend but to be invited as a speaker is really beyond what I could have thought could happen.  For me it looks like the one event that is more about the business opportunities and the sharing of knowledge to springboard your business.   Rather than just about the new tech and not just about networking but also about the real global business opportunities.

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What is The World of Drones Congress and why you should attend?

The World of Drones is a global congress with workshops, presentations and meetings and if you are serious about building business on the global stage then this for you and your business.

There are genuine opportunities to build business in Queensland Australia back in December 2018, I was invited to the  High Commission of Australia in London and listened to all of the trade opportunities that exist in Australia. I think from the UK we may not think about the Australian opportunities open to us and now it is time to think more about a global stage. ( I am not mentioning the B word here on purpose)

Australia has had drone laws for 17 years and has a lot of innovation and investment which was revealed at this presentation in London.  Queensland in particular appears to be like the silicon valley of Australia for drone tech.  Opportunities for entrepreneur visas are available in Australia.  If you have that entrepreneur spirt and that is connected to drones then what are you waiting for? Book a ticket and come and network and see what Queensland and Australia has on offer.

There are people from all over the world attending, Japan, America, China, New Zealand  Europe as well as people from the Australian states and beyond.

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You could also spend some time doing some exploring and tourist activities 

 

What else is on at The World of Drone Congress?

Apart from all the speakers who are experts in scientific research, humanitarian, SAR (Search and rescue), and creative industries.  There are workshops, exhibitors who are exhibiting their tech innovations, an educational workshop for school students and also a health and safety workshop.

I am really looking forward to hearing for experts from around the world on the latest technology the policies, research and applications of drones.  Meeting people from all over the world that are as passionate about drones as myself.

My session is Session 3.2: Business, Movies & Media on Thursday 26 SEP 19 from 1330 to 1500.  I will be talking about the use of drones in visual story telling the UK and techniques all drone ops can use to improve their visual story telling all the lessons I have learnt so far as TV camera operator and TV director,  condensed into this presentation.

Please come and say hello at the end of the session if you are attending.

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The Drone Lass

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Creative Drone Masterclass – August 2019

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I am running a creative drone masterclass next week, I have moved the date to accommodate the candidates and we are really looking forward to getting to grips with what it means to create better drone videos.   Even as a film maker , Producer/ Director and TV camera operator it took me a while to master the drone and make my footage better.  I will be showing the drone ops how produce creative videos that they can use to promote their skills.

There is still time to join £425 per person for 2 days (if booking directly)  – 7th August – 8th of August. If you need to claim the VAT back please book through Eventbrite link, where you will also find out in-depth what the masterclass entails.

I am an experienced trainer and educator and I am looking forward to sharing my knowledge with drone pilots building their businesses by increasing their skill set.

 

Have a great weekend

The Drone Lass

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UK’s First Women only PFCO course

 

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Teaching a drone workshop in Switzerland at The Evolve Videography retreat

I am pleased to announce that I am joining The Aerial Academy as a flight instructor

I have now been flying drones professionally for over four years. I am a camera operator and shooting producer/director for TV and I have flown drones for major TV companies including the BBC, ITV, Channel 5 and various independent production companies. I have appeared on BBC 5 Live, BBC News channels, Good Morning Britain and in The Guardian as a drone industry spokesperson and expert.  The past 12 months I have become a public speaker and educator.  So now I feel that this is the next move for me and for a while I have tried to find the right NQE to join.

I am very excited about joining The Aerial Academy and for many years have admired the company’s ethics and focus on delivering high-quality drone training, from experienced drone pilots to those starting out in the drone industry. I am looking forward to working alongside owners Jonathan Carter and Elliot Corke and working alongside the other instructors.

Part of the reason for running this course is to share my passion to encourage more women into becoming part of the drone industry.  There is  the potential for a level playing field for women in the drone industry, but also realise that some women may be intimidated being the only woman on a PFCO course – so we are launching a UK first PFCO women-only course. Starting this initiative with a limited one-off course which we expect to be in high demand. We have already have had a number of women book on the course.

It will be held on 13/14th May 2019 in the Manchester/Sheffield area.

Why we’re running a women-only course

Approximate figures suggest that women only make up 3% of the UAV industry – as a company we would love to see that rise and think that this course might be the answer.

For a long time it has been known that women are not joining the ranks of professional drone pilots. Studies are underway to understand why women are not becoming professional pilots, but in the meantime we hope that this course will be received as a positive move by the drone industry.

How to book 

To unlock the booking use the special event code ‘AllFemale’
https://dronetraining.co.uk/book-now

Or call Alexandra on 0161 883 3897

On this course you will get the usual high standard of support from The Aerial Academy with 12 month support and guidance after the course, Ops manual creation and a dedicated pro facebook group.

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“The Future is Female Drone Pilots”  Photo by Joolze Dymond

Looking forward to meeting those of you who are joining me in May

Carys –

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The PFCO course is for anyone who wants to use their drone commercially in the UK to gain insurance and be safe legal.  Please note it is still the law not to fly your drone as additional skills on the side of a paid project.  If you are gaining  financially  for any part of a shoot you must be legal.   See my PFCO Link 

 

 

#WomenWhoPhoto Campaign

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Way back in November 2019 I was approached by The Photography Show after appearing in the Guardian to see if I would be interested in speaking at The Photography Show and The Video Show in Birmingham. Strange how that felt like a lifetime ago and here it is just around the corner. The organisers also asked if I would be a Women Who Photo ambassador.

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The WomenWhoPhoto campaign aims to inspire and celebrate women who use a camera for stills and for video.   There are many more who are speaking over the 4 days and it is not just the ambassadors. There are other women speakers across all the days but some of us have chosen to be featured.

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The gender imbalance in the Photography, Video, Camera operators and of course Drone Pilot’s still exist and if we can highlight this and inspire others to take up the profession or as a hobby this would be amazing.

The BBC Highlighted four of the ambassadors in Women Behind the Lens 

These campaigns are so important to inspire other women to take up photography and film making as a hobby or in a professional capacity to just to become more balanced.

Come along to the panel discussion on

Saturday 16th March 15:00 – 15:45  on the Photo Live stage

Keys to success – Building your profile

We will be discussing how to price your projects, how to build and maintain confidence and how to promote your work.

Have a great weekend

Do say hello if you are attending.

The Drone Lass

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