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First Of Its Kind Waiver Allows CNN To Fly Drones Over Crowds

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The FAA has granted a waiver to CNN allowing the media company to fly drones over crowds, covering public assemblies to a height of 150 feet (45 meters).

The first of its kind to allow untethered flight to this degree, this waiver is the product of two years of research by CNN and its partner Vantage Robotics who established their case for safety with the FAA.

CNN is one of the most innovative media companies using drones for journalism and newsgathering. In 2016, they even established a dedicated drone unit to fully integrate aerial imagery and reporting across their networks and platforms.

The “Reasonableness Approach” developed by CNN and Vantage Robotics established conditions whereby a number of factors were taken into account before the FAA granted the waiver. These factors include the operators safe history of use, safety features of the craft and exhaustive test data, as CNN explains in their press release.

“We are pleased that Vantage was able to work with CNN to present and establish the safety case for the Snap to the FAA”,

said Tobin Fisher, CEO of Vantage Robotics.

The waiver to Part 107 (Small Unmanned Aircraft Regulations) applies to the use of the Vantage Snap UAS, a frangible, 1.37-pound aircraft designed specifically with crowd safety in mind.

CNN Uses Vantage Robotics’ Snap Drone to Win FAA Fly-Over-People Waiver https://t.co/5L6tJvlXEd pic.twitter.com/fOSg8wv1Om

— Automaton (@AutomatonBlog) October 19, 2017

Here is sample footage in 4K shot with the Vantage Snap:

While the Vantage Snap is limited in its use at the moment, this decision could spell the beginning of a new regulatory trend within the industry.

Former US presidential advisor and attorney Lisa Ellman of Hogan Lovells, the firm that represented CNN in the waiver application process, has been working hard in the last few years to develop legislation allowing commercial use of drones.

She believes this new legislation could have broader implications within the industry:

“CNN’s new waiver represents a very important development for the commercial drone industry at large. The FAA’s willingness to approve reasonable waiver requests is a strong step in the right direction as we seek to bring the benefits of commercial drones to the American people.”,

commented Ellman on Unmanned Aerial.

Ellman is a strong advocate of commercial drone use in the U.S. and feels U.S. legislation still has a way to go before the industry can catch up with countries like Japan, which has allowed the commercial use of drones for the past 20 years already.

In a broader sense, this regulatory step has the potential to bring the plans of companies such as Amazon, eBay and even regular delivery companies closer to fruition.

So what might this mean for the smaller, independent drone pilots? Well, probably not a whole lot just yet as this reasonableness approach puts a lot of weight on the user’s track record.

However, with the stock industry and other end users of drone footage increasingly demanding the footage they purchase be accompanied by full documentation and legal permissions, it won’t be long before pilots will earn their reputations for safety and compliance.

Exciting times. Watch this space.

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First Of Its Kind Waiver Allows CNN To Fly Drones Over Crowds was originally posted at https://skytango.com/first-of-its-kind-waiver-allows-cnn-to-fly-drones-over-crowds/ by Hugh Shelley

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$1,000 is Up for Grabs Every Week – AirVuz Drone Video of the Week Contest!

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AirVuz is the top spot for drone videographers to show off their work.  Show off your best with a chance to win $1,000 every week in the AirVuz Video of the Week contest!

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
Email Miriam
TWITTER:@spaldingbarker

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$1,000 is Up for Grabs Every Week – AirVuz Drone Video of the Week Contest! was originally posted at https://dronelife.com/2018/04/08/1000-grabs-every-week-airvuz-drone-video-week-contest/ by Miriam McNabb

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The Alliance for Drone Innovation

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Manufacturing giant DJI has announced the launch of the Alliance for Drone Innovation (ADI), an effort to broaden the support for the goals of the former Drone Manufacturers Alliance originally formed 2 years ago by 3DR, GoPro, DJI and Parrot.

The new organization will address the same issues – but the coalition has now expanded to include suppliers and software developers of both personal and professional drones “as well as the innovative Americans who fly them for recreational, artistic, and business purposes,” says the Alliance.

Led by Jenny Rosenberg, former Department of Transportation Acting Assistant Secretary for Aviation and International Affairs, the group’s focus is on legislative and regulatory activity: matters of critical importance right now to stakeholders in the recreational drone industry.  Recent arguments over the repeal of Section 336 in the next FAA Authorization package – a move which would grant the FAA broad authority to impose laws for recreational drones – could threaten the growth of the sector.  Recreational drone manufacturers and advocacy groups are committed to keeping the law in place, which would mean that recreational droners do not have to get a Part 107 license or additional training to fly as long as they fly within the framework of a community-based flight organization, such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) or the Drone User Group (DUG.)

“ADI is focused on promoting innovation and the growth of the unmanned aircraft industry for both personal and professional use,” says ADI.  “…ADI promotes awareness among policymakers, media and the general public of how drones help society, ensuring that government policies allow everyone to achieve the benefits of safe and responsible drone flight.”

“We look forward to working with Congress, the administration, and other stakeholders on policies that promote innovation and allow the drone market to flourish in a responsible and safe manner,” said ADI Executive Director Jenny Rosenberg.

In addition to legal protections for recreational operators as mentioned above, the ADI supports a micro-drone classification exempting very small and lightweight aircraft from certain laws, and the preservation of FAA preemption.  FAA preemption refers to the idea that the FAA should maintain ultimate authority over the airspace, preventing state, tribal and local governments from passing their own drone laws.

Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
Email Miriam
TWITTER:@spaldingbarker

READ LATER - DOWNLOAD THIS POST AS PDF >> CLICK HERE <<

The Alliance for Drone Innovation was originally posted at https://dronelife.com/2018/04/07/alliance-drone-innovation/ by Miriam McNabb

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Firefly Drone Shows: The Team Behind That Viral Video Expands Their Fleet

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Press Release: Firefly Drone Shows, founded by Kyle Dorosz and Ryan Sigmon, is expanding their fleet to 200 custom-built drones and booking for a variety of outdoor events this summer. They are the third company in the United States to gain approval for performing across the country, and one of the few in the world to also possess a night waiver from the FAA for drone shows. Routines are pre-programmed, choreographed, and automated by a computer to create any design imaginable in the sky. This level of customization makes light shows an ideal alternative to traditional fireworks for corporate, private, and special events.

Firefly recently made headlines in regional news outlets, including MLive and ABC 12, after a video of their first test performance, recorded by Grand Blanc resident Kaylin Adams, went viral. Dorosz was operating 30 drones at dusk, from Holly Cloud Hoppers flying field, which piqued the curiosity of Adams plus 10-15 other drivers who parked on the shoulder of the I-75 highway to safely view the synchronized light show.

Traditional fireworks are loud, costly, can be used only once, and emit various harmful toxins. Drone shows don’t leave a carbon footprint and can be executed repeatedly, something co-founder Dorosz believes will appeal to to eco-conscious industries including music and entertainment. “We are able to create bright, impactful displays in the sky without the significant pollution or steep costs generally associated with fireworks.”

A light show can last up to 20 minutes. However, additional drones can be launched to replace drones with depleted batteries, creating a seamless and continuous light show. Anyone attending a music festival, county fair, or corporate event this summer will be relieved to know that if they spot groups of lights performing mesmerizing routines, it’s likely a Firefly Drone Show at work and not a visit from extraterrestrial beings.

Firefly is currently booking summer events across the nation. View more of their shows, and follow along, on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, or visit fireflydroneshows.com.

About Firefly Drone Shows

Firefly provides synchronized drone light shows for corporate and private events, as well as custom applications. One of the only FAA-approved companies in the world, Firefly offers the latest technology operated by the most experienced pilots.

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Firefly Drone Shows: The Team Behind That Viral Video Expands Their Fleet was originally posted at https://dronelife.com/2018/04/07/firefly-drone-shows-team-behind-viral-video-expands-fleet/ by

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