As they become more ubiquitous, the sound of a drone overhead isn’t nearly as alarming as it once was, perhaps leading the way for a new FAA decision to allow them in news gathering.
CNN said Wednesday it has received permission from the Federal Aviation Administration to fly drones directly over people, allowing the news network to potentially broadcast events live from a drone over crowds during protests, concerts, terror attacks, natural disasters, or accidents, writes Linda Lloyd for philly.com.
CNN called the approval an “industry milestone” because it is the first time the FAA has granted what’s called a Part 107 waiver for unlimited flights over people.
Until now, the FAA prohibited drone flights directly over crowds, although there have been limited waivers for filmmakers and others in certain areas, if there was consent from those on the ground.
The approval provides an opening for other news organizations and industries to seek a similar permission.
CNN’s small device, a Snap drone made by Vantage Robotics, will be allowed in a “diverse range of environments, including operations over open-air assemblies (crowds) of people, up to an altitude of 150 feet above ground,” the cable news network said in a statement.
Current FAA legislation came out in June 2016, allowing more widespread commercial use of drones, such as for roof inspections and taking photos outside of crowds, up to an altitude of 400 feet, using aircraft weighing fewer than 55 pounds, and flying less than 100 miles an hour.
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