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Photographic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by Professional Photographers: A Timeline - PPA Today

Photographic Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) by Professional Photographers: A Timeline

-    Currently, commercial use of UAS is almost completely prohibited.

o    The only way to use UAS commercially is to obtain a section 333 exemption from the FAA (a very complicated process which usually involves an attorney) and to have someone with a pilot's license operating the UAS.

-    This makes drone photography virtually impossible for professional photographers unless they also have a pilot's license.

o    For this reason, PPA (over the past few years) has been regularly meeting with the FAA and members of Congress to petition for better regulations.

-    In February 2015, the FAA proposed a set of new regulations which would create a new type of airman certification specifically for UAS operators which would be required in lieu of a pilot's license and would be obtained through a knowledge test.  This proposal improves other regulations for small drone use (55 lbs. or less) affecting photographers by allowing users to fly them much closer to buildings and people than currently authorized.

o    PPA submitted comments to the FAA based on the proposal.  We were generally very pleased with the proposal but did suggest some minor changes.

-    In May 2015, the FAA gave themselves a deadline of no more than 16 months to pass the final rule.  We have the impression the final regulations will be very similar to the proposal and will greatly improve the regulatory framework as it applies to professional photographers' use of UAS.

-    In December 2015, the online registration process was introduced for HOBBYIST use of drones.  

o     In our most recent meeting with the FAA's UAS integration office, PPA was told that their goal for passing the new regulations is early summer 2016, and that they will be completed before the end of 2016 at the latest. We have since heard that it may be even sooner.We expect the use of UAS among professional photographers to massively expand this spring/summer once the new rule is made official and in the years that follow.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Professional Photographers of America (PPA) published on March 4, 2016 3:52 PM.

How-To Register Your Drone (For Hobbyist Use) was the previous entry in this blog.

Why Does The Copyright Registration Process Need To Be Improved? is the next entry in this blog.

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