The FAA has not been known for its flexibility in amending regulations to support commercial drone enterprises, but they seem to have made an exception. Drone video service Cape Productions (Cape) has announced that the FAA has granted an amendment to the company’s existing Section 333 exemption for commercial drone operations, allowing them to fly drones within 500 feet of customers outside of a closed set environment. The amendment, which is the first of its kind issued in the US, will allow the action sports video service to take close aerial footage of customers at ski areas.
“The FAA’s amendment clarifies and streamlines the regulatory requirements governing Cape’s service and places the company’s operations in a unique class apart from other companies authorized to perform outdoor aerial data collection and closed set filming,” Cape Production’s press release states. The new exception provides explicit permission for the company to fly within the 500 foot range of customers – in this case the skiers that the company films – provided they are “briefed beforehand on the operations and provide consent.”
“We have worked closely with the FAA since 2014 to ensure regulatory compliance of our service and are proud of our 100 percent safety record to date across thousands of flights around the world,” said Louis Gresham, President of Cape Productions.
The company, which has raised more than $10 million to date in venture capital, has exploited a niche market opened as fear over drone accidents caused the National Ski Areas Association to recommend that drones be banned at ski areas late last year. Cape offers a service which allows consumers to sign up for a slot at a participating ski resort to be filmed by drone as they ski down designated runs, offering a solution for consumers who want action footage to share with their friends and resorts who want to eliminate amateur drone operators on the slopes. Cape has been offering the service for a year at ski resorts in Canada, and will now expand to resorts in the U.S.
Miriam McNabb is the Editor-in-Chief of DRONELIFE and CEO of JobForDrones, a professional drone services marketplace, and a fascinated observer of the emerging drone industry and the regulatory environment for drones. Miriam has a degree from the University of Chicago and over 20 years of experience in high tech sales and marketing for new technologies.
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