After having just attended a presentation given recently by Pictorvision’s Tom Hallman on the subject of UAVs for Cinematography at the HPA Tech Retreat, I thought I was all caught up. However, the Federal Aviation Administration subsequently came out with a list of their long awaited proposed rules for the commercial use of small drones.
In short, these proposed rules would limit drones weighing no more than 55 lbs to flying no more than 100 mph at an altitude no higher than 500 feet. Additionally, the FAA would ban their use at night and near airports, and, they could only be operated by someone with a certification who keeps the vehicle “in line of sight” at all times.
It is not clear exactly what this new FAA operator certification will entail, but it is certainly far less than imposing than the previous temporary mandate that only a licensed pilot could operate a UAV. These and other operating terms differ from a exemption arrangement recently worked out by a small number of Aerial Cinematography stake holders, including Pictorvision. Other changes include allowing higher speeds and altitudes, (from 400’ maximum to a 500’ maximum).
In is clear by omission from a White House statement on drones that there use for Motion Pictures was not a top priority. They refer to drones as “a potentially transformative technology in diverse fields such as agriculture, law enforcement, coastal security, military training, search and rescue, first responder medical support, critical infrastructure inspection, and many others.”
Please note that these draft regulations must still undergo public comment and revision before being officially adopted. We’ll be reporting on any developments and we will also certainly have plenty to talk about at our Digital Cinema Society L.A. area event on Aerial Cinematography on March 7th. (For more details, please visit our on-line calendar of events).