FAQ

Despite the now wide use of drone technology across many industries, we appreciate you may not have first hand experience with drone use. The industry is still growing and developing hence during this stage incorrect or conflicting information abounds as to what is possible, what is legal and importantly safe for both the operator and our client.

Accordingly, we have developed the following list of key information to guide you and hopefully answer your initial questions.

What is the maximum height you can fly the drone?

Our regulator, the Civil Aviation Safety Authority ("CASA") permits by default drones to operate up to 122m / 400-feet from above ground level. This ensures adequate separation to manned aviation which typically must operate above 306m / 1000-feet above land and populated areas. For areas outside of controlled airspace, and subject to gaining specific area approval from CASA (additional application time and charges apply), up to 1500-feet.

Can you operate close to airports?

We are permitted by an instrument issued by CASA, to operate within 3nm / 5.5km of Non-towered aerodromes which includes helipads with specific prescribed conditions and procedures. For Towered aerodromes including Sydney, Bankstown, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and other major airports we are not permitted to operate within the 3nm / 5.5km boundary unless specifically granted through an application to CASA and AirServices.

How far away can you fly it?

This is limited to how far we can see the drone in the sky, required to determine orientation for safe and accurate control. In our experience, beyond 500 meters this can be difficult. If you wish us to fly further, we are very skilled and experienced at controlling the drone from a moving vehicle.

How much does it cost to hire you?

Please contact us directly via email or phone to discuss your needs and budget. We have standard rates on per job, half day, full day and weekly basis, across and almost anywhere in Australia.

Where are you located?

We are one of the few truly national business in this field. Our head office is based in Sydney, and have physical and long established offices in Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth since 2013. This is one of the numerous advantages of engaging Flying Robot – multiple office locations all trained out of Sydney with consistent equipment, experience and quality mean no interstate travel costs AND simultaneous ops when needed.

Do you have LiPo flight battery limitations like other operators?

No. Since we have physical operations in Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Perth we do not need to transport LiPo batteries interstate for operations within these states.

Can anyone fly?

No. We have many years of flying and development experience, and follow strict guidelines as outlined by CASA for the safety of people on the ground and in other aircraft. We hold a UAV Operator Certificate (“UOC”) and other authorisations (i.e. Controller Certificate, exemptions) that allow us to conduct our work in a safe and controlled manner. For this reason we hire out our Drone together with controller/pilot and trained remote camera operator as a package.

What payloads and cameras can you carry?

We have a fleet of aircraft designed and configured for various camera payloads from the X5 camera through to high-end cinema grade including the Sony FS7, Arri Alexa Mini and RED Epic Dragon or Weapon. All cameras produce beautifully stabilised footage by expertly tuned brushless gimbals including the well respected and film industry proven FreeFly Movi M5 and M15.

Do you have to have a licence to fly?

Yes. All of our remote pilots (UAV controllers) by law have a UAV Controller Certificate to operate.

What is your experience?

Our operations first began in 2011 and commercial in 2012 with all of our UAV controllers having in excess of 4 years for regular work and in excess of 10 years experience for our film and TV clients.

We trained many of the UAV controllers in this industry within Sydney, Melbourne and Perth for aerial photography and cinematography.

How do you control the drone?

All our aircraft are controlled via an RC transmitter with realtime telemetry from the aircraft. This way we have a live readout of all key parameters and especially flight battery voltage, consumption and health of individual battery cells for safety at all times.

How long can you fly for?

Our smaller aircraft operate for approximately 15 minutes through to 10 minutes for our heavy lift cinema aircraft with Arri Alexa Mini 4K or RED Epic Dragon 6K

Do you supply the pilot & camera operator?

Yes, we only use our own UAV controllers and trained camera operators. For all aircraft we use a 720p HD link or FullHD 1080p no latency link for TV and film work.

Do you supply the camera?

Yes. Our fleet includes the Inspire 1 Pro with X5 micro 4/3 sensor camera shooting in 1080p 50fps or 4K 25fps. You have the choice of interchangeable lens with 24mm or 30mm prime equivalent lenses. We also use a zoom lens with 28mm to 84mm lens where required.

Our medium size drones for higher quality than above includes the Sony A7S II shooting 4K 25fps in Slog3 that offers excellent low light sensitivity without noise and excellent post production grading in Avid, Premiere and Da Vinci Resolve and is our preferred choice for most of our work given the balance of long flight times and high quality capture. Our lenses for this camera are all Zeiss fast primes at 18mm, 25mm, 35mm and 55mm, down to f1.4. 

Our high-end cinema heavy lift drone the FreeFly Alta8 with a useable and safe payload of 12kg carries the RED Epic Dragon 6K with cinema lenses, follow focus OR Arri Alexa Mini with cinema prime lenses (Zeiss Ultraprimes, Cooke etc.)

Are you insured?

Yes. All our operations are covered by $20m Public Liability Insurance and workers compensation in each state we have a physical office. We also provide and follow our own Safe Work Method Statement (SWMS) which is often required for risk assessments by the OH&S officer, location manager or on-site building / site manager.

Can I fly for you?

Yes. We receive regular requests by email and in person from persons keen to get into this exciting industry and given our heritage we are well sought after. The first step would include sending us an email and our principal and chief controller to assess your flying skills, experience, knowledge and other attributes to determine if you are a fit for our business.

Do you love what you do?

Absolutely! As one of the early pioneers of this exciting industry, we continue to hold the same passion for media creation and are always excited and proud to be involved with some of the most respected in their field. We are constantly learning and evolving with our clients and partners.