US gives Hollywood all-clear to fly drones

US gives Hollywood all-clear to fly drones

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
US gives Hollywood all-clear to fly drones

This image provided by Aerial MOB, LLC, shows their eight rotor Sky Jib Helicopter in San Diego, Calif., in August 2013. AP Photo

Hollywood has hailed a major victory after being given the all-clear to use drones for film and television production, paving the way for more unmanned aerial systems in American skies.

Six photo and video production companies will be exempt from the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) de facto ban on the commercial use of drones, as long as they go no higher than 400 feet (120 meters) and remain within the confines of a production set.

Operators must also hold a private pilot’s certificate and keep their unmanned aerial systems (UAS) within sight at all times.

“This is a big deal for us today,” said Chris Dodd of the Motion Picture Association of America.       

Previously, Hollywood had to go abroad to use drones to capture scenes for blockbusters. “Now we’ll be able to do this at home in the United States,” said Dodd.        

“That will make a terrific difference,” he said, adding that the move could create jobs and keep production spending on U.S. soil.

Until now, U.S. civil aviation authorities have all but banned the use of drones for commercial purposes.