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Unpatriotic? FAA is investigating whether it’s illegal to send drones into fireworks shows

Above: San Diego's simultaneous fireworks display sets stage for deals in Silicon Valley

Image Credit: The Port of San Diego, Flickr.com

Well, this is certainly interesting. The FAA is now investigating whether or not it’s legal to fly a drone through a fireworks display. This concern surfaced because such flights could violate local or U.S. Coast Guard-established safety zones.

According to Forbes, the FAA is now actively looking into whether drones that fly into fireworks displays is a “violation of federal regulations or airspace restrictions.” At this point, it seems the FAA is not all that concerned about unmanned flights near fireworks, which can be useful for recording video of shows and offering an up-close look at the display.

While recreational model aircraft don’t require FAA approval to fly, people must still must operate them within the guidelines of the law. And that’s the issue here — whether or not these drone flights follow the law. Since the FAA’s rules are quite stringent, it would seem these in-the-middle-of-the-action fireworks flights wouldn’t fall under the hobbyist or recreational category.

This throws them into commercial use, which is next to impossible to gain approval for. Not only do you require a certified aircraft, you also need a licensed pilot and operating approval. These strict rules have made it so only two commercial drone flights have been approved thus far, both of which were restricted to the Arctic. The Puma AE, for example, monitors BP’s oil pipeline.


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