Aerial Surveys and Inspection

With the ability to reach even the most inaccessible, hazardous or large-scale sites, Plowman Craven’s UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle) teams use the latest drone technology to provide a wide range of surveying and inspection services.

Aerial Drone

Whether it’s a busy stretch of live railway or an entire property portfolio, our highly-experienced pilots and surveyors can safely capture high-resolution imagery and survey-grade data to a sub-5mm accuracy level that is unmatched in the industry - all in a fraction of the time taken by traditional survey methods.

Fully certified by the Civil Aviation Authority, our UAV services cover two distinct areas:

Property & Construction
Rail & Infrastructure

Measuring and surveying solutions:


Poultry Market - Old & New Building 7

Benefits of UAV surveying:

  • Rapid data capture
  • Survey grade accuracy
  • Increased safety levels
  • Inaccessible areas covered
  • Reduced manpower requirements
  • More cost-effective
  • Increased quality and quantity of data gathered
  • Comparable accuracy vs laser scanning
  • Wide range of deliverables


Where can we fly?

As one of the few companies in the UK to have Operational Safety Case (OSC) approval from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), we are authorised to use drones in even the most congested areas, including Central London. Having submitted a 280-page operating manual to the CAA, we are permitted to overfly people and property at a height of 25m, as well as taking off and landing from this distance. The basic CAA permission is 50m, which means we are able to capture much higher quality data. All projects are rigorously risk-assessed and conducted in strict observation of all required public safety standards.

How experienced are the pilots?

All our pilots have completed external training and obtained their Remote Pilot Licence from a CAA-approved training provider. Pilots also complete our own internal training programme in which they are taken through proficiency, emergency handling, theory and ground support training to ensure they are able to fly safely. The programme observes the most stringent health and safety standards, above and beyond those specified by the CAA.

What about medical safety checks and training?

All pilots hold an EASA Class 2 medical certificate which ensures that they are fit to fly and their eye sight is of a sufficient standard. This is in line with standard aviation practice for commercial airlines. At least one member of every project team will have completed a St John Ambulance Emergency First Aid at Work training. Plowman Craven always operates with an absolute minimum of two personnel on site at any given time – one of whom is responsible for ensuring that the public and nearby properties are not put at any risk.


What equipment do we use?

Plowman Craven operates the aerial division of the company in the same manner that a commercial charter airline would operate their fleet of aircraft, with full maintenance schedules, procedures and checklists for all equipment.

When working on property or construction projects, we typically deploy the Falcon 8, made by Intel. It’s widely regarded as one of the best aircraft in the world and is a lightweight, manoeuvrable octocopter (eight motors) that offers a raft of excellent safety features. The main camera used is a 36-megapixel Sony A7-R digital SLR with a 35mm lens – it’s capable of providing survey data to a very high accuracy level (10mm)

For rail and infrastructure, we use our unique Vogel R3D system that provides a much higher level of accuracy. The Vogel R3D combines a high-redundancy UAV platform and 100-megapixel camera with bespoke workflows and software to enable the extraction of sub-5mm accurate survey data. Network Rail has described the system as a “game-changer”.

Civil Aviation Authority Logo - Plowman Craven are holders of a CAA Permission for Commercial Operation (Licence No. 2703)

Plowman Craven is certified by the Civil Aviation Authority (permission No.2703) and all pilots possess a Remote Pilot Licence from a CAA-approved training provider as well as an EASA Class 2 medical certificate. All projects are rigorously risk assessed and conducted in strict observation of all required public safety standards.

Plowman Craven are holders of a CAA Permission for Commercial Operation (Licence No. 2703)