Missouri Drone Journalism Program to reconfigure goals after FAA letter

Aug 21, 2013
Lead in text: 

As many news outlets have reported over the last eight months, KBIA's Content Director Scott Pham is the founder of the Missouri Drone Journalism Program, which studies the use of drones (think less military, more toy helicopters) for journalistic purposes. The program has hit a snag, as the Federal Aviation Administration has sent the program what amounts to a "cease and desist" letter, at least until the program gets what the FAA deems proper certification based on the somewhat limited restrictions the FAA currently has for the devices. Pham explains further in his blog post on the subject, linked below. He defended the project's activities thus far, but also sees limited application for journalism agencies like KBIA under the FAA rules as applied here, at least until new restrictions are put in place in 2015.

Through the eight months the Missouri Drone Journalism Program has operated, we've flown under the guidelines the FAA has set down for remote control aircraft. Those guidelines are generally as follows: a pilot may not fly above 400 feet, over populated areas, or near airports. A pilot may not fly beyond his range of sight,...

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