CNN OK’d to Fly Drones Over People in ‘Real-World’ Conditions
Posted by - Betsy Lillian - October 18, 2017 - unmanned-aerial.com
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"CNN was been awarded a waiver under the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) Part 107 to operate unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) safely over people in real-world operating conditions.
- According to press release from law firm Hogan Lovells, which helped the major news channel secure the approval, the waiver allows CNN to fly the Vantage Robotics Snap drone over non-participating members of the public up to an altitude of 150 feet above ground level. There are no restrictions based on population density – which will, for the first time ever, enable wide-ranging flights in urban and suburban environments, says the law firm.
- “This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN’s UAS operations but also the commercial UAS industry at large,” says David Vigilante, senior vice president for legal at CNN, in a company blog.
- According to CNN, the Snap UAS is a “frangible, 1.37-pound aircraft with enclosed rotors that is made of deformable material.”
- “Vantage created the Snap for the purpose of safely capturing aerial video over people,” comments Tobin Fisher, CEO of Vantage Robotics. “We are pleased that Vantage was able to work with CNN to present and establish the safety case for the Snap to the FAA.”
- This summer, CNN, which has its own Aerial Imagery and Reporting unit, CNN AIR, received a Part 107 waiver for closed-set UAS operations, allowing drone flights over people for motion picture and television filming in a controlled environment. Last year, CNN also secured a waiver to operate a Fotokite Pro – a small, tethered drone – over areas with unsheltered people who are not directly participating in the UAS operation.
- As of today, the FAA has issued 1,317 Part 107 waivers, but only seven of them (or .005%) allow drone operations over people, notes Hogan Lovells. Though the odds of filing a successful waiver application for operations over people may seem daunting, CNN’s new waiver could now open the door to additional approvals, the law firm points out.....".
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