The Federal Aviation Administration approved six photo and video production companies for unmanned aircraft flights. The decision that basically made flying Drones legal for movies and TV purposes was cited Thursday by US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. Up to this point, it was illegal for anyone to fly drones above US soil. A special mandate allows the companies to use drones, or unmanned aircraft systems, under certain conditions. The companies requested the special permission assuring safety and imposing regulations upon themselves. They pledged that drone operators will hold pilot certificates, they will keep the air crafts in the line of sight and will only fly above predetermined areas on the set. The FAA added that the companies may only fly during daylight hours and must always check the craft before every flight.
Secretary Foxx also added that the key feature was the drones’ flight manuals and detailed safety procedures. The six companies that were granted permission to fly are Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB LLC, HeliVideo Productions LLC, Pictorvision Inc, RC Pro Productions Consulting LLC, Vortex Aerial, and Snaproll Media LLC. The FAA asks people in the industry to develop safety manuals as well as standard operating procedures. In other words, the FAA will let you fly your drones, if you can establish rules and follow a strict conduct. Another company applied and is working close with the US Department of Transportation to achieve approval for flights.
The six companies were helped by the MPAA (the Motion Picture Association of America) to apply and receive the approval. It’s no surprise they’ve achieved it since the MPAA has a strong political lobby. The new decision will revolutionize the film industry making it much easier for directors and cinematographers to get certain shots, which previously required very costly helicopter rentals or unwieldy cranes. On the queue for the FAA are 40 other applications from movie production companies.