FAA Seeks Comments on Movie/TV Drone Exemptions

The agency wants public comments on the possibility of making exemptions for commercial UAS movie and TV production.

The Federal Aviation Administration is seeking public comments on the possibility of making exemptions for drones used in commercial movie and TV production. The agency announced that seven aerial photo and video production companies have asked for regulatory exemptions that would allow them to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for the first time with FAA approval.

According to a press release from the agency, there could be "tangible economic benefits" if the exemption requests are granted. However, the agency will be addressing all safety issues carefully before making any safety decisions to make sure hazards are appropriately dealt with. In addition, the petitioner must still obtain operational approval from the FAA. Firms must show that their UAS operations will not adversely affect safety—or provide at least an equal level or safety—to the rules from which they seek the exemption in order to receive the exemption.

According to the FAA: "The Motion Picture Association of America facilitated the exemption requests on behalf of their membership. The firms that filed the petitions are all independent aerial cinematography professionals who collectively developed the exemption requests as a requirement to satisfy the safety and public interest concerns of the FAA, MPAA and the public at large."

Interested parties have 20 days to send in comments, at which point the FAA will consider the comments and respond to them when drafting the final decision on all seven exemption requests.

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