[Avionics Today June 2, 2014] The United States is considering granting exemptions for the commercial use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) for the purpose of filming movies and television shows, according to a statement by the FAA.
Seven aerial photo and production companies are requesting regulatory exemptions allowing the use of UAS for filming purposes for the first time. Recently, the agency has been heavily criticized for its progress on integrating UAS into the National Airspace System (NAS) for commercial purposes, most notably an opinion article from Association of Unmanned Vehicles Systems International (AUVSI) President Michael Toscano also saying the agency needs to accelerate integration.
Currently the FAA provides Certificates of Authorization (COA) to public entities seeking to fly UAS in civil airspace for law enforcement and border patrol, while authorizing commercial operations on a case-by-case basis.
According to its latest release, the agency will for the first time be considering opening the NAS to private operation of Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (SUAS) equipped to conduct aerial photography for scripted close set filming. The seven companies seeking approval from the FAA include Aerial MOB LLC, Astraeus Aerial, Flying-Cam Inc., HeliVideo Productions, Pictorvision Inc., Vortex Aerial and Snaproll Media LLC.
"The firms are asking the agency to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. They are also asking for relief from airworthiness certification requirements as allowed under Section 333," the FAA said.
Under Section 333 of the 2012 FAA reauthorization bill, lawmakers instructed the agency to begin licensing commercial UAS by 2015, and to consider exemptions for commercial operations flying in narrowly-defined, controlled and low-risk situations.
The companies will also have to show why "granting the exemption would be in the public interest," the agency said.