The expected release of new unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) regulations later this month and the recent commercial drone incident with TGI Friday’s in New York (TGI Friday’s Dumb Mistletoe Drone Cut Somebody’s Face Open) have me thinking about the future of commercial drone use. Perfect Duluth Day has been somewhat on the forefront of the use of drones since I purchased a quadcopter capable of shooting photography and video back in 2013.
I utilize my 4 drones (DJI s800evo, Tarot FY680 Pro, DJI Phantom 2 Vision & Vision 2+) to shoot content for digital media, which has drawn attention beyond PDD via the Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, MPR and also Duluth news outlets. I was contacted by the Federal Aviation Administration in early 2014 after shooting the John Beargrease Sled Dog Marathon and told I was in violation of FAA regulations because my footage was considered commercial.
I won’t get into the specifics of what the current regulations entail, but needless to say they are bit vague and need clarification. The National Transportation Safety Board felt the same way, dismissing multiple instances in which the FAA fined UAV operators $10,000 for commercial operation. There has been kind of a wild west approach to commercial use of UAVs since then, with little risk of citations or fines until the new regulations are released.