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Making money from flying...


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It is common knowledge that we are not allowed to make profit from our flying.

Is this fair?

Assuming that we stay on the path as it were.... and inside the rules of the air, what's the harm in selling a few pics?


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Yup, it's fair. Paramotoring is our hobby and we should have no right to expect to make money from it. If we want to earn money flying, then we should follow one of the accredited routes.

Reminds me of an old saying in aviation;

'The only way to make a small fortune from flying is to start with a large fortune'

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For you and your paramotor there may not be one, with the exception of instructing. Doesn't stop you becoming a commercial pilot if you want to make money from flying though.

Exactly the same situation with scuba diving, you need to be a commie diver before you can make money from it.

Why should it be right for any man jack to make money, when there are those who have gone down the legitimate route who have spent hundreds of hours at their chosen profession and become licensed/insured etc? That would strike me as fundamentally unfair.

Isn't there a loophole that says you can publish a book with photographs?

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Technically there is I'm afraid Dan, this is considered payment 'in kind'. You could probably successfully argue that the farmer is letting you use the land gratis, and the pictures given are likewise free. If the farmer let you off rent for a couple of months in exchange for the pictures, it would be a no-no.

I used to run into the same sort of issue if I took any mates up in a plane for a buzz around, or once doing someone a favour of getting them from a horse show in Stratford in the morning, to their son's wedding in Blackpool in the afternoon. I was only permitted to accept a pro rata contribution towards the cost of fuel for the aircraft, they weren't permitted to pay for the whole flight, or to make gifts that might be seen as payment in kind.

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Even the charging for instruction is a tight rope, legally. ANO states that only a commercially licensed instructor may charge for flying instruction. In the case of gliding this is exempted if the instruction is to a club member and provided by another club member. So instruction in gliding clubs, in club machines and by instructors who are club members is the only permitted acivity.

Paragliding and now paramotoring "schools" take this notion even closer to the limit as most are actually quite blatantly commercial operations, charging a fee for a course of instruction. They can only get away with it by being constituted as a club (that is a legal entity) and by making students members (albeit temporary and with no voting rights) of that club. The instructors and the CFI (proprietor) are full members of that club, or are hired for the purpose of giving instruction, to club members, by the club.

As I say, a tight rope, and we have the BGA to thank for its existence as they acquired the exemtion due to the fact that they are as old as the legislkation or older!!

I believe you will find that Micro-light, PPL and heli' instructors are all licensed by the CAA to charge for instruction.

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well if someone asked me to take some pics of there house which one did then i would be taking pics and charging for them i stick to rules but if i can make a few pounds safely then i am there regardless of what people or the law states, i really cant see any harm in it at all it aint like ya gettin a fortune for it nor have you a sales team out knocking for the business, tell ya what it is its the government again that cant stand people making money without them wantin it well sod them lol

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Well if someone asked me to take some pics. of their house, which one did, then I would be taking pics. and charging for them. I stick to rules, but if I can make a few pounds safely then I am there, regardless of what people or the law states. I really can't see any harm in it at all, it aint like ya gettin' a fortune for it, nor have you a sales team out knocking for the business. Tell ya what it is, it's the government again that can't stand people making money without them wantin' it, well sod them lol.

It's like many aspects of our pastime Leo, this would be yet another 'get out' clause for the insurance crowd, should it come to light in the event of an incident. Just saying this to raise awareness, not out of any desire to stop you doing it.

PS, please forgive me adding some punctuation to your posting, I'm hoping I've done it in a way that conveys what you were trying to say, and I only did it to make it easier for others to read, not being critical, at all. Half the time my spelling etc leaves a lot to be desired.

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i think most take a camera in to the sky and take pics. like you say its any thing to avoid paying out but id be interested to know if one went and sold a pic to someone who came and asked for it then were would we stand with it being legal ? most of the time we are taking pictures for our own use anyway , i dont think there is a livin to be made from it maybe a pound or two now and then

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Phil is quite right but the answer to the photograph is to take a pragmatic approach. It's equivalent to doing 31mph in a 30mph zone... technically illegal but no one's going to raise anything as long as you don't have an accident doing it.

Instructing, on the other hand, is a whole different ball game. I am 'helping' a friend through his early days of paramotoring at the moment but I have been very insistant that he picks and chooses the info he wants to take on board at his own discretion and in no way does anything I do equate to instruction. This is totally opposite to the years I spent as a flying instructor, some of which were professional, which were part of a formal system.

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Not a fair one mate!

To be fair to Paramotor Mag...

If you had put a watermark on it, (like most do) They would not have removed it. I did think it was a little odd when you sent the pics to them with no signiture?

Same could be said for the Ebay stuff you have sent me?... I wont credit you... it's ebay, BUT BUT BUT.. If you have a water mark on them, your name is out and I would be happy to use them on ebay with a watermark.

Just a 'business' thought.


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Not quite the same Simon.

The photos I have supplied to you for Ebay are to help raise the money for the chosen charities. I would not therefore expect a credit, or put my logo on them. Raising money for the charities was one of the reasons I wanted to get involved with the Tip to Tip in the first place.

Publications like Paramotormag are a different proposition. They publish for a profit. As such, like any other magazine or newspaper, they "usually" rely on contributions from freelancers and have a set policy. I read that policy before submitting anything, and it is the same as any other 'for profit' publication I have submitted to for over 20 years now. Legally, they are allowed to use (or not use) anything submitted in such a way, BUT they have to at least give a photographer credit. It's infringement of copyright if they don't. Plain and simple.

Watermarking (Not the same as an imprinted logo or signature) is NOT an option. It increases file size at the same time as degrading quality. Mags will not accept watermarked images as a rule because of this. They certainly won't accept any image with a logo on.

Copyright data is contained in the Exif file of all digital images. If you open one of the ones I've sent you, it will be there under properties. I didn't draw your attention to it because it isn't relevant to images I donated for charitable purposes, but you can bet anyone who, in a professional capacity looks at those images with a view to using them would look at the Exif to check status before pinching and publishing.

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I hope this helps and adds something to the debate.

'Thorny subject this one. I set up an AOC operation in the '80s flying Charter with a piston multi. The maelstrom of paperwork involved has remained in my conscious for many years. Having recently had several long conversations on the theme with the CAA over an associated matter I have arrived at a conclusion of sorts.

Taking photographs from the air and selling them constitutes aerial work. To be permitted to partake of aerial work your operation requires oversight by the CAA. This normally means that your activities happen within the context of an AOC (Air Operators Certificate). All charter, air taxi companies, airlines, helicopter filming operation, crop spraying - you name it need this Certificate to legally carry out aerial work. An AOC has requirements with regard to pilot qualification, licensing and checking. Similarly there are financial and insurance requirements to be met to ensure that the operation set is viable and will not let the public down. An AOC Operation is run and ruled by an Operations Manual that defines exactly how you will conduct your aerial work. Your aircraft need a current Certificate of Airworthiness and meet certain maintenance standards and by implication will normally be on the UK register.

The list above is not comprehensive but fairly representative to give you a flavor. You can see where paramotoring has its problems with regard to aerial work can't you?

The people currently selling photographs to magazines that were taken in the air from a paramotor are skating on thin ice. They are being left alone because they don't currently hurt anyone, have not attracted complaint and no accidents have occurred whilst they were being taken. Read into that what you will.

Let's say I started taking pictures for a ground based film company from the air. Let's say that I beat 'AeroPix Hellifilms Ltd' to the contract and they were pretty peed off because it was a lucrative deal providing a couple of months work. Would you expect AeroPix to take the fact that my paramotor operation taking the images was illegal? With their expensive and legal infrastructure they simply could not compete with me.

No, off course you wouldn't - and they won't. A discreet phone call to the CAA's enforcement department, the film company, and if that failed (it wouldn't) - the press, and I am closed down and perhaps subject of one of those long, probing investigations prior to (potential) prosecution.

The basis on which filming takes place in the air needs to be very, very carefully worked through, otherwise there may be repercussions if there is a complaint or an accident. Failing those two eventualities... you take your chances but it is a risky business.

Surprisingly the CAA would like to enable both Microlights and other highly suitable light aircraft to be able to carry out aerial work. The problem is that it will take sustained demands from the community to push for it. That sustained demand will need to take its place in a (large) lineup, so don't hold your breath.


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I know of several BHPA registered and certified Paragliding tandem pilots that make a living from taking members of the public on tandem flights, is this legal? I suppose it must be because they are doing it openly and the BHPA are licensing and insuring them.

Paul D

Taking money for pleasure flights requires a CAA commercial pilot's license as it is "arial work". BHPA dual pilots who are instructors may charge for "instruction" on a dual flight if it is for the purpose of instruction being given to a club member by another club member on club equipment as part of a flying lesson.

SO the BHPA have some schools (constituted as clubs) whose role is to deliver "flying instruction" to anyone who may wish to take up the sport. These people are first signed up to the BHPA as "day members" then flown on school (i.e. club) equipment by instructors who are also dual pilots.

In practise the outcome is trhe same, punters get flown for money.

In this way we can remain within the law. Any dual pilot who simply flys people for money outside these restrictions is not doing so under the BHPA rules or the law.

With regards insurance the BHPA dual pilot who is an instructor flying punters as described first, is insured to 2 million for third party risks and 25,000 second party risks (the punter). Any other dual flying for money is not insured by the BHPA scheme.

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Article26 - Members of flight crew – requirement for licence

10) This article shall not require a licence to be held by a person by reason of his acting

as a member of the flight crew of a glider unless:

(a) he acts as a flight radiotelephony operator otherwise than in accordance with

paragraph (2)(a)(i); (on a private flight and not talking to ATC)


(b) the flight is for the purpose of public transport or aerial work, other than aerial

work which consists of the giving of instruction in flying or the conducting of

flying tests in a glider owned or operated by a flying club of which the person

giving the instruction or conducting the test and the person receiving the

instruction or undergoing the test are both members.

So the only legal taking of money is when a club member trains or instructs another club member, including tandem and solo training. EVERYTHING else is Arial work and requires an AOC

Although you can claim "expenses" for carrying out some arial work without an AOC.

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If the prupose of the flight is to raise a parachutist to dropping height you can take money for the flight.


Public transport and aerial work - exceptions - parachuting

163 A flight shall be deemed to be for the purpose of aerial work if it is a flight in respect of

which valuable consideration has been given or promised for the carriage of passengers

and which is for the purpose of:

(a) the dropping of persons by parachute and which is made under and in

accordance with the terms of a parachuting permission granted by the CAA

under article 67;

(b) positioning the aircraft for such a flight as is specified in sub-paragraph (a) and

which is made with the intention of carrying out such a flight and on which no

person is carried who it is not intended shall be carried on such a flight and who

may be carried on such a flight in accordance with the terms of a parachuting

permission granted by the CAA under article 67; or

© returning after such a flight as is specified in sub-paragraph (a) to the place at

which the persons carried on such a flight are usually based and on which flight

no persons are carried other than persons carried on the flight specified in subparagraph


Fly up to photo taking location, then pull a parachutal stall??? Take photos whilst parachutal then resume flight?

Actually no good as you would need a CAA parachute drop zone license so only legal taking photos over Redlands etc!

BUT what about this one????

Exceptions from application of provisions of the Order for certain classes of aircraft

164 The provisions of this Order other than articles 68, 74, 96(1), 97, 98, 144(1)(b) and ©,

155(1) and (2) shall not apply to or in relation to:

(a) any small balloon;

(b) any kite weighing not more than 2 kg;

© any small aircraft; or

(d) any parachute including a parascending parachute.

Small aircraft are exempt? Obviously I have not understood the ANO correctly or............paramotors are exempt from article 157 (aerial work)?

No , "small aircraft" is defined as any unmanned aircraft, other than a balloon or a kite, weighing

not more than 20 kg without its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed

in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight;

But a tow launched paraglider is a "parascending parachute"???????

It all comes back to the letter of the law AND its interpretation by the Judiciary in the event of a case being brought. Since no-one has yet been successfully prosecuted for taking photographs from a paramotor and selling them the jury is literally still out as far as case law is concerned.

What is clear to me is that it is highly contentious and doubtless jealously guarded by vested interests. You might slide a few through but if you make a big business out of it ........ hire a good lawyer!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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