Stay Connected


FAA considers approving drones for filming movies


WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Aviation Administration said Monday it is considering giving permission to seven movie and television filming companies to use unmanned aircraft for aerial photography, a potentially significant step that could lead to greater relaxation of the agency’s ban on commercial use of drones.

The companies that have filed petitions to receive exemptions are Aerial MOB LLC, Astraeus Aerial, Flying-Cam Inc., HeliVideo Productions LLC, Pictorvision Inc., Vortex Aerial, and Snaproll Media LLC, the FAA said in a statement. To receive the exemptions, the companies must show their drone operations won’t harm safety, and would be in the public interest.

Currently, no commercial drone flights are permitted in U.S. with the lone exception of flights off the Alaskan coast over the Arctic Ocean by the Conoco Philips oil company. The FAA only granted permission for those flights after Congress told the agency to start permitting flights in the Arctic region.

The FAA has been under intense pressure from Congress and industry to allow commercial drone flights to do work that in many cases is too dirty, dull, or dangerous for manned aircraft. Drones are also often less expensive to operate than manned aircraft. The agency has been working for the past decade on safety regulations to permit widespread commercial drone use, but has repeatedly delayed issuing regulations. The FAA’s current timetable calls for releasing proposed regulations for operating small drones — usually defined as weighing less than 55 pounds — by November. It would take at least months, and possibly years, after that to make the regulations final.

FAA officials caution that rushing to gain the economic and other benefits of drones could put manned aircraft at risk. U.S. skies have more aircraft and more varied types of aircraft and aircraft operations than anywhere else in the world, and integrating their operations with unmanned aircraft is a complex business, they say.

Ben Gielow, general counsel for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International, a trade association for the commercial drone industry, said he’s pleased the FAA is considering the petitions. But he said if the agency “is only going to grant permission on a limited, case-by-case basis, then this doesn’t really open up the skies for anyone who wants to fly.”

Despite FAA’s ban, drones have already been used by the movie industry, including to film parts of the Martin Scorsese-directed movie “The Wolf of Wall Street.” A wide range of other businesses from real estate agents to beer makers to journalists have also ignored the ban.

At least two lawsuits have been filed challenging the ban. An administrative law judge with the National Transportation Safety Board who heard one of the challenges ruled that the FAA can’t enforce regulations that don’t yet exist. The agency is appealing that decision.



Back to Features
Top Stories of the Week

Father of Southington teen killed in car crash helps others …
I recently was forced to face every parent’s worst nightmare. I lost my 14-year-old daughter, Olivia, in a tragic automobile accident. Olivia was a beautiful, … more ...

Man charged in March drug raid arrested again by Meriden …
MERIDEN — Police surveillance led to the arrest of two people on drug charges last week, including a 25-year-old city man previously arrested in March … more ...

Top 5 stories on MyRecordJournal.com this week …
Here are the top 5, most clicked stories on MyRecordJournal.com this week. Father of Southington teen killed in car crash helps others heal “I recently … more ...

Smarter Balanced assessment results reveal gaps in math scores …
The majority of students taking a new computerized test in the 2014-15 school year met or exceeded the benchmark set by the state for English, … more ...

Area lawmakers meet with business leaders in North Haven …
NORTH HAVEN — Members of the business community discussed the state’s economic climate on Thursday, days after Gov. Dannel P. Malloy confirmed that he has … more ...

Comments