FAA May Allow Film, TV Crews to Use Drones

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NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The Federal Aviation Administration is considering a petition from seven film and television companies for permission to use drones when filming.  The FAA currently has a ban on the commercial use of drones in the U.S.


The Federal Aviation Administration's ban on the commercial use of drones may be relaxing.

The FAA is reviewing a request by seven film and television companies to use drones when filming.  The companies hope to use drones to achieve creative aerial shots, but they also can be less expensive than manned aircraft and some believe, safer.

The FAA prohibits the use of unmanned aircraft systems for commercial purposes due to safety and privacy concerns.  The only commercial drone flights allowed in the U.S. include flights over the Arctic Ocean by oil company Conoco Philips (COP). Those were allowed after Congress told the FAA it needed to allow flights in the Arctic region.

The FAA acknowledged that granting the exemptions could have "tangible economic benefits."  In order to receive permission, the FAA said the companies must show that their drone operations won't be a safety hazard and would be in the public interest.

The FAA is currently said to be working on proposed regulations for operating small drones that weigh less than 55 pounds.  In the meantime, its bans are sometimes ignored, like in the recent film The Wolf of Wall Street, which featured scenes filmed by drones.

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