MPAA, Aerospace Industries Urge FAA to Support Drone Use in Production

"This country is the birthplace of the motion picture, TV and aviation industries, and U.S. has a significant technological advantage. … This advantage, however, may be short-lived," the organizations warned.
Phil Bray Courtesy of Millenium Films

The Motion Picture Association of America and Aerospace Industries Association are urging the Federal Aviation Administration to support the use of drones — also known as small Unmanned Aircraft Systems — in film production, warning that without its support, the country's technical advantage in this area could be "short lived."

There's been growing interest in attaching cameras to unmanned aircrafts for film and TV production, but the FAA currently regulates their use in U.S. airspace.

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In a letter to FAA administrator Michael Huerta released today, MPAA chairman and CEO Sen. Chris Dodd and AIA president and CEO Marion C. Blakey specifically asked the agency to approve an exemption request by Astraeus Aerial to operate small unmanned aircrafts for movie and television production.

The two organizations also urged the agency to remain on track to issue a UAS Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in November to allow a period of public review and comment to begin. A proposed UAV rule would provide an exemption for unmanned aircrafts under 55 pounds to be used in U.S. airspace.

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The letter stated: "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."

On Saturday, roughly 100 stakeholders in the Hollywood community gathered in Burbank for an educational event during which they launched the newly-named Society for Aerial Cinematographers and reviewed these and other FAA issues impacting the potential use of drones on film sets.


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