Pilots of light aircraft are passionate about flying. In clubs all over the country you’ll find private pilots just longing for a reason to take to the air. And the passenger seat of a Cessna or other high-winged aircraft is perfect for aerial photography … you can even open the window to avoid the plexiglas blur you get in most low-winged craft.

So, one sunny morning when it’s not too blustery, take yourself off to a flying club near to the landmark, view or whatever else you fancy shooting from the air and start chatting up the friendly pilots in the clubhouse. And before long, as long as you have a head for heights and a calm disposition, you’ll be up with the birds.

— posted by Yvonne Seeley


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11 Responses to “How To Take Aerial Photographs When You Haven’t Got An Aeroplane”

  1. Gwyn Headley says:

    As a PPL holder (Private Pilot) Yvonne should know. I remember hanging around in the Clubhouse at Great Gransden (a Portakabin equipped with a very fat and dozy cat, an electric kettle and a tin mug attached by a chain to a sink — flying is not as glamorous as pilots like to make out) waiting for her to return from her dogfights with the YAKs. People who wandered in would more often than not be offered a flight. And I’m sure they’re MUCH friendlier in Yorkshire. Here’s a list of Yorkshire airfields to try out. The smaller and less corporate the venue, the more chance you’ll have. Don’t try this at Heathrow.

    Bagby Airfield
    Bagby, THIRSK, North Yorkshire YO7 2PH

    Baxby Airsports
    Baxby Manor, Husthwaite, YORK, Yorkshire YO61 4PW

    Full Sutton Airfield
    YORK, Yorkshire YO4 11HS

    Sherburn Airfield
    Lennerton Lane, Sherburn in Elmet, LEEDS, Yorkshire LS25 6JE

    Hull Aero Club
    Beverley (Linley Hill) Airfield, Leven, Yorkshire HU17 5LT

    Leeds Flying School
    Coney Park Estate Leeds Bradford International Airport, Yeadon, LEEDS, Yorkshire LS19 7XS

    Sandtoft Airfield
    Belton, Doncaster, Yorkshire DN9 1PN

    Sherburn Aero Club
    Lennerton Lane, Sherburn in Elmet, LEEDS, Yorkshire LS25 6JE

    The Airfield
    Pocklington, York, Yorkshire YO4 2NR

    York Flying Club
    Rufforth Airfield East, York Road, Rufforth, YORK, Yorkshire YO6 5RY

    Sutton Bank Flying Club
    Sutton Bank Thirsk, Yorkshire YO7 2EY

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  3. Barry De Morgan says:

    I have been asked to take a number of aerial photographs of churches in Dorset for the Dorset Historic Churches Trust. They already have a number of my “ground”pictures published in their annual calendars and I am now wanting to offer them a different aspect. The local club Compton Abbas have so far been unable to offer help. Is there anywhere else nearby I could approach?

  4. Gwyn Headley says:

    I got the data on airfields from http://www.todayspilot.co.uk/index.html
    The third button in the LH column has the Where To Fly guide. Clicking on the South West area button will give you a list of airfields. Offer to swap a fine photograph of the proud owner with his/her winged steed in return for the flight.

  5. Ric Morris says:

    Hot air balloons are good, too.

  6. Gwyn Headley says:

    Hot air balloons are better than aeroplanes for taking photographs from AS LONG AS you don’t particularly mind where you’re heading.

  7. Ric says:


  8. Leo Marriott says:

    I don’t wish to danmpen enthusiasm and I am sure many private pilots would be willing to take a photographer along but bear in mind flying is an expensive business and don’t presume too much on the charity of your pilot. Typical club aircaft cost around £120-150 per hour these days.
    More to the point is the legal situation. If a pilot takes you flying in the full knowledge that the object of the exercise is for you to take a photograph which you will sell (or try to sell) then that flight is made on a commercial basis and the pilot is deemed to be flying for “hire and reward” – even if he or she receives no payment (the legal term is “valuable consideration”). Holders of a Private Pilot’s Licence are not permitted to fly for hire and reward and could be prosecuted under the Air Navigation Order for so doing.
    Consequently, if a pilot seems reluctant to take you up, this might well be one of the reasons.

  9. Yvonne says:

    Leo’s right, of course. But what the pilot doesn’t know shouldn’t get her into trouble – just be a little economical with the truth. I hope this doesn’t mean the lunch I was treated to in Le Touquet in return for the flight there & back would be viewed as a valuable consideration … but those moules were good!

  10. Leo Marriott says:

    Yes, moules are definitely valuable consideration. In fact if you flew to Le Touquet at the photographers behest and enjoyed the flight (let alone the moules), then you have received valuable consideration! That apart, Le Touquet has an excellent restaurant which I have sampled many times. On one occasion I flew five parachutists (plus myself) there from Lympne, when it was too windy for jumping, in a four seat C180. Just our luck to be parked next to a CAA inspection aircraft whose pilot looked askance at the six bodies deploying. He must have had a good lunch as he said nothing and the savings on duty free plus the fuel drawback paid for the cost of the flight.

  11. Gwyn Headley says:

    The trouble with moules is that they need large amounts of white wine to wash them down. As Von was the pilot, she couldn’t drink, so I had to have her share. It’s a tough life being a pilot.