What do you think, will the FAA get involved in this one or not?
Either way, the fact that the Catholic church -an organization notorious for being old fashioned- is now using drones should grab the attention of some skeptics.
Seriously, all thats left is to have a picture of Pope Francis flying a DJI Phantom (a pope drone selfie?…a pronie?) to hit the internet and the issue of opening up the skies to commercial drones will be an international headline.
Original article from Washington Post:
The procession had an ancient vibe: Dozens of priests in white robes, leading hundreds more Catholics in a solemn procession through Northeast Washington. People chanted and sang prayers from the 3rd century, asking saints through Christianity’s history for help.
Hovering over it all was a drone.
The Archdiocese of Washington debuted its new, hubcap-sized flying device on Mother’s Day, using it to videotape crowds participating in a procession marking the canonizations of popes John Paul II and John the 23rd (now called St. John Paul II and St. John the 23rd). The video images (embedded below) captured by the drone-mounted camera were used in a YouTube mashup the archdiocese made, mixing soaring classical music and scenes from an earlier indoor Mass.
The purchase of a drone — which a spokeswoman said was less than $1,000 – by a key religious organization for evangelization purposes just underscores how common drones are becoming for social media use.
According to several people who were at the May 11 procession, which went between the Basilica of the National Shrine and the newly renamed St. John Paul II National Shrine, the drone was at a distance and unobtrusive, especially amid the crowds and noise.
The archdiocese’s drone was also used for a short video of the Shrine’s property, which is also set to moving music and will be used for promotional material.
“It’s like a movie trailer,” said Kevin Smith, a spokesman for the John Paul II Shrine. The video was shot from its roof, but he noted that, so far, the archdiocese doesn’t have “glasses” that can come as an additional feature so that the person flying the drone — using a joystick-like device on the ground — can see what the drone is seeing. “Right now they’re flying blind.”
The archdiocese is plunging more deeply into social media. According to spokeswoman Chieko Noguchi, the archdiocese has 7,400 likes, the largest of any Catholic diocese in the country, and its office uses Instagram, posts YouTube videos and tweets.
It’s part of the Catholic Church’s effort to work harder at evangelizing, which Pope Benedict named a top priority a couple years ago. He picked Washington’s archbishop, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, as one of the campaign’s leaders.
“Like art, music and architecture have been used through history to share themes, we are using video and photo to create images of the message being communicated,” said Noguchi.
However the archdiocese, like other nongovernmental drone users, may run into some challenges.
While the archdiocese’s drone operators made sure only to shoot on private properties — not the roads between — the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Safety Administration has forbidden all unmanned aircraft to operate within a 15-mile radius around Reagan National Airport, said FAA spokesman Les Dorr. The procession area is inside that zone.
The FAA also requires commercial users to seek permission for drone use, and approvals are on a case-by-case basis. These limitations are being hotly contested in court, said Timothy Reuter, head of the D.C. Area Drone User Group, the largest group of drone hobbyists in the country.
Alan is serial entrepreneur, active angel investor, and a drone enthusiast. He co-founded DRONELIFE.com to address the emerging commercial market for drones and drone technology. Prior to DRONELIFE.com, Alan co-founded Where.com, ThinkingScreen Media, and Nurse.com. Recently, Alan has co-founded Crowditz.com, a leader in Equity Crowdfunding Data, Analytics, and Insights. Alan can be reached at alan(at)dronelife.com