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Friday, September 26, 2014

FAA Grants Use of Commercial UAS on TV and Movie Sets

Juliet Van Wagenen

The FAA has granted the use of commercial UAS on TV and movie sets
The FAA has granted the use of commercial UAS on TV and movie sets. Photo: Wikipedia

[Avionics Today 09-26-2014] The United States Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx announced the department has granted regulatory exemptions to six aerial photo and video production companies, the first step to allowing the film and television industry the use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System. Foxx also determined that the UAS to be used in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness based on a finding they do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.

The firms asked the agency to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. To receive the exemptions, the firms had to show their UAS operations would not adversely affect safety, or would provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemptions. In turn, the operators will hold private pilot certificates, keep the UAS within line of sight at all times and restrict flights to the "sterile area" on the set.  In granting the exemption, FAA accepted these safety conditions, adding an inspection of the aircraft before each flight, and prohibiting operations at night. The agency also will issue Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (COAs) that mandate flight rules and timely reports of any accident or incidents.

As of today, the agency is considering 40 requests for exemptions from other commercial UAS, a huge market that the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) forecasts will approach $300 million by 2018 on factory-to-dealer sales of just under a million units globally.

“We already see these devices being used to assist in a variety of innovative applications, from aerial coverage for sports and real estate, to assistance in search and rescue and disaster relief missions, to providing novel new camera angles to capture professional and personal video footage. I say firmly, with tongue slightly planted in cheek: when it comes to drones and unmanned aircraft, the sky is the limit,” said CEA President and CEO Gary Shapiro.

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