Recreational drones have become a big hobby pastime for countless people across the UK.

Using a drone for flying enjoyment is simply an extension of the aeroplane flying hobbies of so many over the years. But a recreational drone is completely different to a commercial drone and there are substantial differences between the two.

Commercial Drones

Drones such as those used by our inspection team, are used in agriculture, construction, public safety, surveying, transportation, energy and so much more. Commercial drones are used in connection with a business. When flying a drone for commercial purposes, you need to have a license. The UK operates strict drone flight restrictions that require licenses for drone pilots (in the same way that a manned aircraft requires a license).

There are various key distinguishing features of commercial drones that set them apart from hobby recreational drones including:

Precision and Accuracy

When conducting GPS based aerial inspection or 3D modelling flight paths, precision in key. Commercial drones are equipped with far more advanced image capturing cameras and more accurate GPS systems that provide far more accurate and precise readings.

Versatility and Adaptability

In our day to day operations, we could be conducted an aerial inspection of a building structure that requires thermal imaging equipment to detect heat loss points in the buildings brickwork and roofing. Then the next day we could be conducting aerial inspection of wind turbine blades to look for damage to the turbine blades. Then the next day we could be carrying out a repeat flyby inspection of a bridge to check a developing issue. These different types of aerial inspection require different types of camera, sensor equipment and accessories. A commercial drone comes with a ‘payload’ platform which can be fitted with customised equipment tailored for different uses from mapping and 3D modelling to visual inspection. Recreational drones are not multi purpose vehicles are are designed for leisure and recreational entertainment.


A recreational drone is used maybe at best, once or twice a week. A commercial drone can be flying throughout the day, everyday. Only stopping for battery pack switchovers. Commercial drones need to be robust and durable to endure the daily use or aerial inspection needs. Commercial drone manufacturers such as DJI offer ongoing support, maintenance and repair services.

Recreational Drones

Recreational drones are generally unmanned or model aircraft that are used for personal interest and fun. They can be used for personal photography. Some are sold with trick/stunt capabilities. Others are designed for racing. But if you use a drone for profit, this becomes commercial use and you must adhere to strict Government guidelines. You can find out more about drone flight restrictions here.

If you would like to know more about commercial drones used for aerial inspection services, please contact our Glasgow head office today.