Ex-estate agent Gary’s new venture is flying high

One of Gary's aerial images.

One of Gary's aerial images.

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A former estate agent is hoping his new business really takes off after turning his talents to aerial filming and photography.

Gary Taylor set up Phantom Films after spotting a gap in the market for assisting builders and surveyors with photographing hard-to-reach rooftops.

Gary Taylor with one of his drones.

Gary Taylor with one of his drones.

And he has now qualified as an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle – or drone – pilot after being granted his Permission for Aerial Work from the UK Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

“I had an estate agency business in Morecambe and we still manage flats in the building, and I got chatting to a builder about how difficult it was to get a view of a tall building that needs a roof inspection,” said Gary, who lives in Morecambe.

“Someone mentioned how easy it would be with a drone and that started us thinking we could do aerial surveys of buildings.

“That expanded slightly to the idea of doing an annual shoot which can be kept as evidence of any damage.

One of Gary's aerial images.

One of Gary's aerial images.

“Estate agents have also started to use drones a lot for views of properties, especially in the south east where there are a lot of large properties.

“Last year I decided that I should be doing this rather than it just being a concept so I bought my first drone and took a two-day course to satisfy the Civil Aviation Authority.”

Gary then had to put together an operations manual and take a flight assessment.

In May he finally received his Permission for Aerial Work, which means he can now undertake commercial work.

Gary invested in two DJI Phantom 2 Vision Plus drones, which can cost up to £1,000.

Fitted with HD cameras, the drones can travel up to 400ft high and on a 500m radius.

To retain his CAA licence, which must be renewed every year, Gary must log every flight and number of hours undertaken. Using a drone over private property also entails the sometimes lengthy process of gaining permission from landowners.

As well as offering his services to the estate agency and building trade, Gary has already had work commissioned by the BBC for the recent archaelogical dig in Lancaster.”

More about his business can be found at www.phantomfilms.co.uk.