Golf company has drone permission22nd February, 2013 by Emma Williams
A company that supplies aerial videos to help golf courses market themselves has been given permission to fly drones in UK airspace.
Video Golf Marketing is one of less than 200 organisations, mainly made up of defence firms, police forces, fire services and universities, that are allowed to use the unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which some privacy groups are campaigning against.
Video Golf Marketing has been commissioned by six golf clubs to make videos for them using the drones.
Gordon Slack, who owns the company, said he taught himself how to use his own UAV.
“Once you know how to operate it, it is not too complicated,” he said.
“We’ve done six videos for golf courses, with a few more in the pipeline.”
UAV technology can be used for a variety of purposes; from scientific research and conservation, to surveillance and armed attacks. However, the drones, which do not need to be operated by qualified pilots, are becoming increasingly controversial because of civil liberty issues.
Anybody who wants to fly a small UAV in UK airspace must seek permission from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA). The aircraft must weigh no more than 20kg and must not fly any higher than 122 metres.
Operators must also ensure they do not fly the drones further than 500 metres away from themselves. However, beyond that, there are very few restrictions on what they can video.
Chris Cole, founder of the Drone Wars UK website, said: “While companies and regulators are putting in place the technologies, procedures and regulations that will see drones routinely fly over our heads, they appear to be washing their hands of the consequent and obvious impact on privacy and civil liberties.
“We are already under huge amounts of surveillance we are in public. Unless we are vigilant, drones will see surveillance – by police and security agencies or simply by private companies – spread into our private space.”