Two More Firms Ask FAA for Right to Use UAS in Film Production

The Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to support increasing the safe operation of small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) in film productions.

In a letter to FAA Administrator Michael Huerta, AIA President and CEO Marion C. Blakey and MPAA Chairman and CEO Sen. Chris Dodd asked the agency to approve an exemption request by Astraeus Aerial to operate sUAS for movie and television productions.

The exemption application details how licensed professionals can operate small, camera-equipped unmanned systems safely in U.S. airspace. A favorable approval also would widen opportunities for other, similar operators.

As the letter states, AIA and MPAA represent industries that support more than 2.5 million American jobs and produce more than $125 billion in annual exports. Once these and other exemptions are granted to permit sUAS operations for movie productions, both industries will benefit.

While recognizing the final FAA sUAS rules will not be issued as originally directed by Congress in August, AIA and MPAA urged the agency to remain on track to issue the sUAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in November to allow the period of public review and comment to begin.

“This country is the birthplace of the motion picture, television and aviation industries, and the United States has a significant technological advantage in this new frontier of aviation,” the letter stated.

“This advantage, however, may be short-lived. Approving the film and television exemption requests expeditiously will help advance our nation’s global leadership in aviation by supplying the FAA with a case study and data that can expedite the successful integration of UAS into national airspace.”

Back in early June, seven aerial photo and video production companies petitioned the FAA for regulatory exemptions that would allow the film and television industry to use UAS.

According to the FAA, the firms asked the agency to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, and maintenance and equipment mandates. They also asked for relief from airworthiness certification requirements as allowed under Section 333, where specific UAS can fly safely in narrowly defined, controlled, low-risk situations.


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