Drone flying with a feminine touch

Commercial drone operators come from all industry backgrounds, but the UAV scene is still largely male-dominated. Coverdrone client Carys Kaiser bucks that trend. She has always been a fan of new technologies, and that passion eventually saw her extend her many talents to drone flying.

A northern girl at heart, work in TV, film and a host of other jobs saw Carys build extensive experience in a variety of fields across the UK. A love of photography and film-making eventually led her to pursuing a drone licence that would allow her to marry her many skills.

“My dad always said that girls could do anything,” she told us. “That was a huge driver for me as I had to challenge many stereotypes when I started my working life.

Across the last few years Carys has worked for the BBC and other media companies, and is now starting to cast her net further to explore the many other opportunities available to talented and qualified drone pilots.

“For a number of years I worked as a freelancer, finding myself in and out of projects. Adding aerial photography was the natural progression so that I could source more work and offer my clients additional options. It was an extension of my camera work.”

Carys never did anything by halves. Rather than becoming a hobbyist flyer, she decided to do things properly. That meant in-depth research about the UAV industry, flight training and taking the best advice about drone insurance. With twelve years of camera experience already under her belt, in 2014 she began drone flight training and soon achieved the Civil Aviation Authority’s PFAW licence for equipment under 7kg.

“The barrier to many enthusiasts is often money, but I decided that investing my time and cash into becoming fully qualified and properly insured was the best route to take for me.

“I had used expensive camera equipment for years, so getting myself fully covered was essential. The Coverdrone policy gave me the peace of mind I needed, and as my gear changes I know that I can adjust my coverage. Having a flexible drone insurer is very important to me.

“As a UAV operator you have responsibilities. You are flying an asset that can malfunction. So you need to be properly insured to cover your valuable equipment, but you must also appreciate that the lives and property of others could be affected by what you do.

“I spend a lot of time planning my work, so that there are fewer surprises out on a job. You often have to manage clients’ enthusiasm, as keeping everyone safe is a priority.”

Developing a good working relationship with Coverdrone has also led to additional projects for Carys, as companies and organisations strive to become fully compliant with the complex rules and regulations associated with flying commercial unmanned aircraft.

“One of the first questions I am asked is often about insurance. Public liability is increasingly important, and my £5m cover can easily be increased when large organisations demand cover of £10m for major commissions.

“It is also a great selling point for me. I can work as a film-maker but offer companies additional flexibility if they want some aerial footage. Over a three or four-day shoot, for example, we can pick the best day for light and wind conditions and just send my drone up.

“When I’m not flying or making films I love to pop into schools to help educate youngsters about the exciting opportunities out there, but I always stress the safety aspects of what I do.

“I think I am also a good role model for girls who might think that drone flying is a career that is out of their reach. That’s definitely not the case.”

Most recently, Carys was part of an award-winning BBC Body Positive production team that created film for a successful social media campaign.

Carys also writes a regular blog that emphasises the importance of safety for anyone considering entering the exciting world of flying drones for a living.