Feds Allow Hollywood to Use Drones

(p. B1) LOS ANGELES — The commercial use of drones in American skies took a leap forward on Thursday [Sept. 25, 2014] with the help of Hollywood.
The Federal Aviation Administration, responding to applications from seven filmmaking companies and pressure from the Motion Picture Association of America, said six of those companies could use camera-equipped drones on certain movie and television sets. Until now, the F.A.A. has not permitted commercial drone use except for extremely limited circumstances in wilderness areas of Alaska.
Put bluntly, this is the first time that companies in the United States will be able to legally use drones to fly over people.
The decision has implications for a broad range of industries including agriculture, energy, real estate, the news media and online retailing. “While the approval for Hollywood is very limited in scope, it’s a message to everyone that this ball is rolling,” said Greg Cirillo, chairman of the aviation practice at Wiley Rein, a law firm in Washington.
Michael P. Huerta, the administrator of the F.A.A., said at least 40 similar applications were pending from companies beyond Hollywood. One is Amazon, which wants permission to move forward with a drone-delivery service. Google has acknowledged “self-flying vehicle” tests in the Australian outback.
“Today’s announcement is a significant milestone in broadening commercial use,” Anthony R. Foxx, secretary of transportation, told reporters in a conference call.

For the full story, see:
BROOKS BARNES. “Drone Exemptions for Hollywood Pave the Way for Widespread Use.” The New York Times (Fri., SEPT. 26, 2014): B1 & B7.
(Note: bracketed date added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date SEPT. 25, 2014.)

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