A St Ives-based aerial imagery firm says it is “over the moon” after getting the go-ahead from the Civil Aviation Authority to fly its drones at night.

DRONES: X-COPTERS will be able to fly by moonlightDRONES: X-COPTERS will be able to fly by moonlight

David Brooks, owner of X-COPTERS, said it was uncommon for drone operators to win CAA approval to operate at night.

“Many of our clients ask us ‘can drones fly at night’ which is something we have been hoping to say yes to for a while,” he said.

“It has been granted to us at the perfect time, just as the clocks go back and available daylight hours for flying and filming are reduced.”

David said drone companies were required to get a special licence if they wanted to sell their aerial filming services.

“At X-COPTERS we are very pleased that we have recently been granted drone night-flying permissions by the CAA and are now able to operate our drones 24 hours a day, right through the night,” he said.

David said drone operators had to pass stringent tests to operate commercially as the unmanned aerial vehicles could be hazardous if safety procedures were not followed.

Operating at night increased the risk factor as visibility was significantly reduced and required a separate night rating.

David said X-COPTERS operated mainly in the Cambridgeshire area, providing imagery for corporate videos, insurance inspections, news gathering, film companies, TV and agricultural mapping.

Clients include Cambridge University, St ives Town Council and the BBC.