As expected, the FAA has officially granted six aerial photo and video production companies exemptions to fly drones for the purposes of movie and TV filming.
US Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, who announced the decision, said that it was "a significant milestone in broadening commercial UAS use while ensuring we maintain our world-class safety record in all forms of flight.
“These companies are blazing a trail that others are already following, offering the promise of new advances in agriculture and utility safety and maintenance,” he added.
In other words, open the floodgates.
The seven production companies first petitioned the FAA for exemptions back in June, with the help of the MPAA. The industry had been pushing for this for a while, and this is indeed a victory. Six of the seven applications have been approved, with one still pending.
“The applicants submitted UAS flight manuals with detailed safety procedures that were a key factor in our approval of their requests,” said FAA Administrator Michael Huerta. “We are thoroughly satisfied these operations will not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground.”
The production companies had to prove that their UAS operations "would not adversely affect safety, or would provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemptions."
As the New York Times points out, this is a huge moment. It'll be the first time that a company, located in the US, will legally fly drones over other humans. The first FAA-approved commercial drone flight over land, granted to AeroVironment’s Puma AE, surveyed BP's oil pipelines in Alaska.
Image via VidMuze, YouTube