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Hollywood Wants Camera Drones, and the FAA Might Let Them Fly

An EquuSearch drone on April 8 in Santa Fe, Texas
An EquuSearch drone on April 8 in Santa Fe, TexasPhotograph by Mayra Beltran/Houston Chronicle via AP Photo

U.S. regulators may have adopted a new approach to the growth of small commercial drones. While the Federal Aviation Administration has previously ordered companies and individuals to stop flying unmanned aircraft, this week the agency said it’s considering exemptions for seven film and television productions seeking to use aerial drones in their work.

The FAA currently grants such exemptions to government agencies: law enforcement, firefighters, search and rescue, border patrol, and the military. Private businesses and civilian hobbyists have so far either ignored the FAA or grounded their drones. The requests from the entertainment industry has backing from the Motion Picture Association of America, whose members have a keen interest in using drones for difficult and expensive shots—the kind that tend to require helicopters.