Finally, a good article on "drone journalism"

ABC News Australia has a thorough piece on the state of "drone journalism", which gives some good examples and cuts through the sort of silliness that characterized some earlier reports, such as those featuring Occupy Wall Street types flying a Parrot AR.Drone inside.

It includes an important quote from Matt Waite, who runs the Drone Journalism Lab at the University of Nebraska

Despite America's love affair with new technology, Professor Waite says the rate of take-up of drone journalism is still very slow - for one single reason.

"Here in the US the law doesn't allow it - plain and simple," he said.

"The rules right now in the US are basically this: nothing over 400 feet, nothing out of sight, nothing near people and no commercial purposes.

"If it were (just) the first three, drone journalism would have a fighting chance. The commercial restrictions are the hardest to overcome."

Sounds like Professor Waite, at least, is taking a realistic and responsible approach. 

[Thanks to Gary Mortimer/sUAS News for the link]

Views: 2688

Comment by Dave C on February 24, 2012 at 4:34pm

Yep, thankfully the people that legislate stuff are usually fairly sensible and reasonable boundaries are set. It's the press freak show that annoys me. Why the hell is this modern day nostradamus fella (no offence meant, its as you are know) getting in the pages of newspapers around the world scare mongering about nothing more dangerous or invasive than a stick, a chain and a chunk of iron, in the wrong hands...

"*&%£

As if we've not got more important things to worry about, but i suppose the big issues are boring.....

Anyway I'm pretty impressed by the system we have here in the UK (although not the press coverage). 

Thanks to Peter Seddon for digging this up a year of two ago..

Small unmanned aircraft
166.—(1) A person must not cause or permit any article or animal (whether or not attached to a parachute) to be dropped from a small unmanned aircraft so as to endanger persons or property.
(2) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft may only fly the aircraft if reasonably satisfied that the flight can safely be made.
(3) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must maintain direct, unaided visual contact with the aircraft sufficient to monitor its flight path in relation to other aircraft, persons, vehicles, vessels and structures for the purpose of avoiding collisions.
(4) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft which has a mass of more than 7kg excluding its fuel but including any articles or equipment installed in or attached to the aircraft at the commencement of its flight, must not fly the aircraft—
(a)in Class A, C, D or E airspace unless the permission of the appropriate air traffic control unit has been obtained;
(b)within an aerodrome traffic zone during the notified hours of watch of the air traffic control unit (if any) at that aerodrome unless the permission of any such air traffic control unit has been obtained; or
(c)at a height of more than 400 feet above the surface unless it is flying in airspace described in sub-paragraph (a) or (b) and in accordance with the requirements for that airspace.
(5) The person in charge of a small unmanned aircraft must not fly the aircraft for the purposes of aerial work except in accordance with a permission granted by the CAA.

Small unmanned surveillance aircraft
167.—(1) The person in charge of a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not fly the aircraft in any of the circumstances described in paragraph (2) except in accordance with a permission issued by the CAA.
(2) The circumstances referred to in paragraph (1) are—
(a)over or within 150 metres of any congested area;
(b)over or within 150 metres of an organised open-air assembly of more than 1,000 persons;
(c)within 50 metres of any vessel, vehicle or structure which is not under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft; or
(d)subject to paragraphs (3) and (4), within 50 metres of any person.
(3) Subject to paragraph (4), during take-off or landing, a small unmanned surveillance aircraft must not be flown within 30 metres of any person.
(4) Paragraphs (2)(d) and (3) do not apply to the person in charge of the small unmanned surveillance aircraft or a person under the control of the person in charge of the aircraft.
(5) In this article ‘a small unmanned surveillance aircraft’ means a small unmanned aircraft which is equipped to undertake any form of surveillance or data acquisition.

The full text can be viewed at http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2009/uksi_200

Comment by Dave C on February 24, 2012 at 4:45pm

Check out the application form. This could save the FAA some work surely ;)

http://www.caa.co.uk/docs/33/SRG1320.pdf

Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on February 25, 2012 at 6:43am

Wow, that looks reasonable.

I wonder if the 20kg "without fuel" limit would be the same for electric propulsion "without batteries"?

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