FAA Gives 6 Companies Permission To Fly Drones In Populated Areas

While drones have become very popular amongst both amateur and professional filmmakers, they’re still technically banned for commercial use. The Washington Post is reporting today that the FAA will announce that they’ve decided to allow several filmmakers to use drones in populated areas. 

The FAA decision is notable, as only two permits for commercial-use drones were given to companies out in the Alaskan wilderness, far away from people. We’ve all seen YouTube videos of people flying and crashing their DJI Phantoms in NYC and other places where an innocent pedestrian or motorist could be injured, so it is understandable why the FAA has been slow to allow it. Even now, the FAA will only be granting a few permits to production firms that submitted applications in May.
Federal Drone Registration Logo
Here are the “rules” that were proposed in the applications:
  • Flights could occur anywhere in the country over private or controlled-access property
  • Drones would stay at least 100 feet away from people not part of production
  • Camera bearing drones would weigh less than 55 lbs
  • Drones would not fly faster than 57 mph
  • Drones would not fly higher than 400 feet (to ensure they do not interfere with aircraft)

If you’re wondering who the companies whose applications are currently under review they are:

  • Astraeus Aerial 
  • Aerial Mob 
  • Flying-Cam 
  • Snaproll Media 
  • Vortex Aerial
  • Pictorvision
  • HeliVideo Productions

UPDATE 9/25 3:53 PM – The FAA has given permission to the companies listed above. They also confirm an additional set of rules. Drones can not be flown out of the pilot’s sight, the pilot must be licensed, and a fire safety officer and an emergency medical technician must also be present on-set in the event of a mishap.