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Hollywood aerial-video companies get FAA exemption

A big step forward.

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Six companies have approval so far

With pressure at an all-time high for the FAA to begin allowing unmanned aircraft (drones as they are more aptly known) into the NAS for commercial purposes, six companies were given golden tickets to operate in the film and movie industries. A seventh company is under review. Earlier this year, these companies filed highly publicized waivers to be granted access to the NAS and were just recently approved by the FAA.

These companies are: Astraeus Aerial, Aerial MOB, Pictorvision Inc., RC Pro Productions Consulting, HeliVideo Productions, and Snaproll Media. Flying-Cam is the seventh company that is still under review.

FAA Administrator Michael Huerta is quoted as saying: “The applicants submitted UAS flight manuals with detailed safety procedures that were a key factor in our approval of their requests. We are thoroughly satisfied these operations will not pose a hazard to other aircraft or to people and property on the ground.”

CLICK HERE for a link to Helivideo Productions FAA exemption letter

Last edited by Matt Gunn; Sep 26, 2014 at 03:28 PM..

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Old Sep 30, 2014, 08:50 AM
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they are required to have a licensed full scale pilot in control of each drone. There are other caveats as well, airport proximity restrictions and notification as I understand, edited because I just read the good news in another thread.
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Old Sep 30, 2014, 11:11 PM
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Would someone inform the FAA that a licensed full scale pilot has is no more useful than
a teen age girl, when it comes to flying on set.

That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.. Full scale pilot training offers
nothing useful to flying a copter with a Camera..
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Old Sep 30, 2014, 11:43 PM
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exactly... The logic of course is so they have a qualified "real" pilot, never mind he never flew a drone.
It makes it so it becomes expensive to comply, so no fly by night "modeler can start his own movie company.
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Old Oct 01, 2014, 07:27 AM
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They know exactly what they're doing... requiring a full-scale ticket keeps the requests and approvals very low.

I have 80 hours fixed wing and a student pilot's license. If only I had actually finished my training 8 years ago!
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Old Oct 01, 2014, 07:47 AM
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Originally Posted by Matt Gunn View Post
They know exactly what they're doing... requiring a full-scale ticket keeps the requests and approvals very low.

I have 80 hours fixed wing and a student pilot's license. If only I had actually finished my training 8 years ago!
I agree 100% I would jut word it differently. Requiring full-scale tickets reduces the competition by making the barrier to entry very high. Established company's love regulation like that.
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Old Oct 01, 2014, 09:45 AM
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I think its typical that a bunch of retired pilots at the FAA are making rules to say
if you want to film from 10 feet you need a pilots
license. Its clear none of them have been on set.

I have been filming for about a year now.... Hired by production to get certain shots.
The highest I get is 20 feet over the trees for a reveal shot of some house or something...

I was just in Puerto Rico for a week filming, and it just does not work that way. It was mostly stunt scenes and some beach stuff.

Why are people / agencies with NO experience in flying copters, making USELESS and BASELESS rules over the film industry ?

EddieWeeks
www.lacoptercam.com
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Old Oct 01, 2014, 04:22 PM
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I think you all are making the assumption that the FAA required or suggested the operators have a PPL. It is possible this item originated with the operators themselves either to a) assuage full size film pilots and the MPAA or b) to simply separate themselves from the average Joe Dirt DJI pilot.

Either way it is very clear of their intention to establish an early monopoly which is not how gentlemen conduct business and goes against the spirit of anti-trust laws.
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Old Oct 01, 2014, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by EddieWeeks View Post
I have been filming for about a year now.... Hired by production to get certain shots.
I don't mean to be rude EddieWeeks, but to say that filming (and presumably flying?) for a year makes you inherently more knowledgeable is exactly WHY rules are written by people who have more experience in a bigger part of the equation.

Too many people have plunked down their money on an aircraft and publicly declared "I ARE A DRONE PILOT!"

Even in the film industry they tell you to go earn your "chops"
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Old Oct 01, 2014, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by CenTexFlyer View Post
I don't mean to be rude EddieWeeks, but to say that filming (and presumably flying?) for a year makes you inherently more knowledgeable is exactly WHY rules are written by people who have more experience in a bigger part of the equation.
Although I only have been getting paid by the film industry for a year, before that I was sponsored turbine pilot for 10 years where I designed, built and flew all my own Jets and was given turbines and other parts. One vertical take off turbine was bought by a French military contractor. Its call the Aurora vtol. Turbine electric hybrid where my version was called the rig.

I have also trained many full size pilots to fly RC, and they have more trouble than most because
it takes them longer to get the nose in directions correct.

So when I Say, having a pilot license is useless in the copter, film industry, it comes from decades of experience.

Eddie Weeks
www.jetlens.com
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Old Oct 01, 2014, 10:55 PM
ehx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xfc3dcd View Post
I think you all are making the assumption that the FAA required or suggested the operators have a PPL.
Uh, yeah!

Everything I've seen over the last ten years from the FAA (once their management finally got a clue about unmanned aerial systems) has suggested that a PPL would be required for pretty much everything.

Look at the original sUARC for example. A five pound aircraft flown below 400 feet more than 10 nautical miles from any airport or heliport would require a PPL. What was that about? Aviation safety? Maybe more the ECONOMIC safety of the pilot union members. Can't devalue that PPL. Even if it's only really tangentially related to the task the FAA will require it since it keeps the Pilot Unions happy AND it's some bureaucracy already in place. Too much like work to create an unmanned license.

The FAA management reports to 1) the aerospace companies (Boeing, etc.), 2) the (manned) pilot unions, 3) the general flying public. There's a big gap between 2 and 3. 3 is only important in a headline news type of event. At least that's the way I've seen things over several decades of commercial manned and unmanned work. If anyone has any FAA documents that suggest that something like a 10 pound UAV below 400 feet over a remote agricultural field (versus a city center) won't require a (traditional) PPL I'd love to see them.
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Old Oct 02, 2014, 08:31 AM
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The bullet they have dodged is the requirements of ASTM F-38 which everybody else might well have to follow. That would be super unfair, manuals and a PPL seems simple compared to what might be coming for all. Outside of a closed set, expect the FAA to require a higher safety standard.

Don't forget the N numbers on your airframes as well
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Old Oct 02, 2014, 09:22 AM
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I was shooting pics for our church leadership yesterday afternoon at a site where we're building a new facility. 79 rural acres, zero overflight of any unrelated structures. Easystar and Pentax Q . . . about as simple as it gets. To think the same operation done for compensation, even a token payment, would require a PPL and 3rd-class medical still boggles my mind. I wonder how much it would cost to type-certify an Easystar? (Said in jest, but only slightly so).

Tony
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Old Oct 21, 2014, 12:42 AM
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I dont think its just about discouraging "I are drone pilots!" (Great term- i loled a bit). They want someone in control who will be sensitive to ( and responsible about) full scale aircraft operating in the area. It may be a it of a hack way to go about it no doubt.
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Old Oct 21, 2014, 03:40 AM
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After much reading and blowing off steam at the FAA, I have come to realize they have to do something to control unrestricted use of the new kind of R/C: drones, FPV, etc. The problem is there is no neat clean and easy way to do it.
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