Hollywood makes bid for drone movies

US safety regulators are considering giving permission to seven movie and television filming companies to use unmanned aircraft for aerial photography.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) said agency officials have been working with The Motion Picture Association of America on the request. To receive the exemptions, the companies must show their drone operations won’t harm safety, and would be in the public interest and the petitioner must still obtain operational approval from the FAA.

The FAA has been under pressure from Congress and industry to allow commercial drone flights that are often less expensive to operate.

The FAA said if the exemption requests are granted, there could be tangible economic benefits as the agency begins to address the demand for commercial UAS operations.

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.

The FAA has been working for several months to implement the provisions of Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 and move forward with UAS integration before proposing a small UAS rule. Companies from three industries besides film production have approached the FAA and are also considering filing exemption requests.  These industries include precision agriculture, power line and pipeline inspection, and oil and gas flare stack inspection.

The firms are asking the agency to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. They are also asking for relief from airworthiness certification requirements as allowed under Section 333. Under that section of the law, certain airworthiness requirements can be waived to let specific UAS fly safely in narrowly-defined, controlled, low-risk situations.

To receive the exemptions, the firms must show that their UAS operations will not adversely affect safety, or provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemption.  They would also need to show why granting the exemption would be in the public interest.

Currently, Certificates of Waiver or Authorization are available to public entities that want to fly a UAS in civil airspace. Common uses today include law enforcement, firefighting, border patrol, disaster relief, search and rescue, military training, and other government operational missions. Commercial operations are authorized on a case-by-case basis. A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval. The exemption process under Section 333 provides an additional avenue for commercial UAS operations.

View the film & TV production company petitions at www.regulations.gov

Aerial MOB LLC: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0353-0001
Astraeus Aerial: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0352-0001
Flying-Cam Inc.: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0355-0001
HeliVideo Productions LLC: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0354-0001
Pictorvision Inc.: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0357-0001
Vortex Aerial: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0356-0001
Snaproll Media LLC: http://www.regulations.gov/#!documentDetail;D=FAA-2014-0358-0001

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