As a CAA-approved provider of drone training, heliguy™ run frequent courses across the UK in Newcastle, Manchester and Farnborough. The latter, our southern-most course, takes place at the beautiful Elvetham Hotel and on our last visit (from 21st
June) we had a very special guest along to train for their PfAW.
Filmmaker, Philip Bloom, joined us for our 3.5-day ground school course, learning the ins and outs of drone law and safety procedures before sitting our theory exam. With cinematography credits spanning from Lucasfilm to the BBC and a passion for using drones in his work as a professional filmmaker, it was great to have him attend.
We recently caught up with Philip to ask him how he found training with heliguy™ at the Elvetham Hotel in Farnborough and what his opinions are of drones in the film industry.
Why did you decide to train towards your PfAW?
I have been filming professionally for over 26 years and I am always excited by new technology and drones are by far the most exciting development in filmmaking in years. Initially, my use of them was just for myself then I started using them for some of my work abroad.
Whilst they will always remain a tool to use occasionally for my filmmaking, getting the PfAW so I could fly commercially was an essential move especially if I want to do any work in the UK with them.
How are drones changing the way you work?
Drones are an incredibly powerful filmmaking tool. They let you get shots that otherwise would be impossible. In fact, probably some of my favourite shots in my entire career were taken with Inspire 1
They are absolutely not for everything and their overuse in projects can always be a danger. I treat them like I would a dolly, a slider, a jib a gimbal stabiliser. They are tools to be used when the project would benefit and of course when it is legal and safe to do so.
Why did you choose to train with Heliguy?
heliguy™ is a company that I have bought a number of items from over the past couple of years. I saw that they offered training courses a while back and it was something I really wanted to get done when I had space in my diary. Their course had also been recommended to me.
When they added the location near Farnborough it made it much more feasible for me as it is much closer to my home. As much as I would love to do it at the HQ in North Shields it is a long way from London!
What did you think of the location & facilities?
The Elvetham was a great place to hold the course at, there are rooms there to stay which makes it really convenient and the building and grounds were stunning.
How would you rate Heliguy's Training Team?
Both Daz and Dan were excellent teachers. Although neither came from a filming background their knowledge and understanding of that side are great. They were patient, confident communicators and great to learn from.
I do a lot of training and teaching myself when it comes to filmmaking so I have a huge amount of respect for the guys as they did such a great job.
What was your favourite part of the course?
My favourite part of the course had to be passing the ground school test! I haven't taken any exam in 27 years so I was incredibly nervous. The other real highlight was meeting so many people with different backgrounds. I expected them to all be from filming backgrounds but that wasn’t the case.
What is your opinion of the course as a whole?
The course was incredibly useful. I know a fair bit about drones and know how to get great shots but I learned a lot about the technical, legal and aviation side which is essential to get your PfAW.
Three and a half days may seem like a long time for this ground part of the course and I know some other courses are shorter, but there was so much to take in that cramming it into a shorter period would have made my head explode, information overload, and it would not have sunk in.
Daz and Dan the teachers went over many topics in the time and many things that they had mentioned earlier were repeated and used in different contexts which made it much more natural and easier to learn.
What advice would you give to people interested in taking one of our courses?
If you are at all serious about flying drones, then this course is essential especially if you want to fly them commercially. Even if you didn’t, the information you will learn will help you fly safely, legally and give you confidence.
For what you get this course is great value for money, they offer you support through the next stage where you write your operations manual then you have your practical test with them which you hopefully pass and receive your PfAW.
Training with Heliguy
We’d like to say a huge thank you to Philip for taking the time to speak with us and congratulations to all those who successfully completed the course. If you would like any more information about the courses offered by heliguy™, follow one of the links below:
Our CAA approved courses are machine relevant, offer real-world scenario planning and are tailored towards smaller consumer drones. Our full course lasts 3.5-days and covers all the material we think you should be aware of to operate safely. heliguy™ supports you from ground school and operations manual production right up to your final flight planning assessment.
We offer training tailored to specific sectors, from emergency services to a range of industrial applications. Our expert instructors take clients through a variety of 'real world' scenarios to ensure that the training experience remains fit for purpose, highly useful and of the best possible quality in each bespoke course we run.
New Pilot Training (Free)
We have evolved the format of DJI’s 'New Pilot Training' to cover more advanced aspects of the UAV industry and what you should consider if your intention within the market is commercial. Hobbyists are also very welcome to attend as it provides a great opportunity to see all of DJI's products up close before making a purchase. The best part? It's totally free!
Drone Film Editing
One of the most popular commercial uses for drones is aerial filming. We've teamed up with an expert in the field to provide a syllabus for a great video editing course. Focussing on one brand of editing software and one goal which is for trainees to leave the course able to produce high-quality videos that they can charge clients for. This is invaluable training for those looking to commercialise their aerial filmmaking.
Farnborough Training Gallery
Take a look at some of the fantastic shots captured by Philip Bloom in the grounds of the Elvetham Hotel during our PfAW training course.