Are Drones Legal For Aerial Video Filming or Aerial Photography? – Maybe Says FAA!

Are Drones legal in the USA for aerial photography or aerial video or aerial filming? Well, maybe. Support My Videos by Buying Me a Cup of Coffee: Thank you! FAA drone regulations may be changing. Seven MPAA member aerial photo and video production companies have asked the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for regulatory exemptions that would allow the film and television industry to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS aka Drones or RC helicopters) with FAA approval for the first time. What do you think? Please leave a comment below or on our website.

See the original story here:

FAA Considers Drone Exemption For Aerial Video Filming – MPAA

Backgrounder on issues mentioned in this video:

RC Helicopter Photography



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1. Seven aerial photo and video production companies have asked for regulatory exemptions that would allow the film and television industry to use unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) with FAA approval for the first time.

They are:

Aerial MOB LLC
Astraeus Aerial
Flying-Cam Inc.
HeliVideo Productions LLC
Pictorvision Inc.
Vortex Aerial
Snaproll Media LLC

2. The FAA did not say if they would grant the exemptions, just that they were requested.

3. The Motion Picture Association of America facilitated the exemption requests on behalf of their membership. The firms that filed the petitions are all independent aerial cinematography professionals who collectively developed the exemption requests as a requirement to satisfy the safety and public interest concerns of the FAA, MPAA and the public at large.

4. Three other industries have also made such requests, including precision agriculture, power line and pipeline inspection, and oil and gas flare stack inspection.

5. They are asking for the FAA to grant exemptions from regulations that address general flight rules, pilot certificate requirements, manuals, maintenance and equipment mandates. According to the FAA, they are also asking for relief from airworthiness certification requirements as allowed under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. Under that section of the law, certain airworthiness requirements can be waived to let specific UAS fly safely in narrowly-defined, controlled, low-risk situations.

6. The agency says that to receive the exemptions, the firms must show that their UAS operations will not adversely affect safety, or provide at least an equal level of safety to the rules from which they seek the exemption. They would also need to show why granting the exemption would be in the public interest.

At the moment, only so-called public entities such as law enforcement and firefighting have access to such waivers, though commercial operations may be authorized on a “case-by-case” basis. Without a waiver, commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and operating approval, says the FAA.


  1. Paul Courville on January 8, 2021 at 10:52 pm

    Let’s use some common sense here folks. First, let’s define DRONES as a military unmanned aircraft and a RC AIRCRAFT as recreational aerial photography vehicle. Second, let’s outlaw attempts to shoot down any aircraft. Third, let’s hold irresponsible RC AIRCRAFT pilots accountable for their actions. Let’s punish violators with fines. Let’s allow no video of private property. Let’s allow folks the freedom to perform aerial photography of nature… deserts, mountains, oceans, etc. I am an avid aerial videographer myself but I believe the public should have a right to privacy. Mutual respect can go a long way. Your thoughts?

  2. C D Kennedy on January 8, 2021 at 10:56 pm

    Been thinking about getting of one of these drones, and being a bit OCD kind of person I would prefer one of the larger ones to hoist better heavier cameras or for the application of pesticides for small farms and such. I could see the FAA coming a mile away on this and really cant blame them, since a few bone heads without common sense fly these things near airports and city buildings or public events or just sensitive areas of concern and I knew it was only a matter of time a bureaucracy would come along and blanket rule the whole hobby. I used to fly sail planes so high we called it "specking out" without any mishaps or loss of the planes and now what’s the use of investing in an expensive drones now, since all of this red tape is now coming down the pike. So would this mean psychological test or paying to get a license or what not? Tell me I’m over reacting. 

  3. kcnelso2 on January 8, 2021 at 10:59 pm

    I have gone through DOUGLAS TRUDEAU public exemption approval which is out on the FAA website over and over and learned a lot from it. Tomorrow is day one that I take all my thoughts and ideas to an attorney who specializes in some areas of the FAA. Im going after a pretty far hail mary pass because my restrictions ill be asking for will not be just real estate. I hope to have a bit more loose terms on what i can and cant get paid to shoot. I have my pilots license and have for a few years now and thats really all I have going for me other than years of flying RCs. We will see what happens. 

  4. Evan Garrett on January 8, 2021 at 11:04 pm

    I’m not sure I understand why commercial use has been banned. There will be people who choose to fly these machines unwisely, violating privacy and reasonable safety precautions in the hobby sector of multi rotors seemingly far more than with commercial use, as one who flies for a company will fly more safely to protect reputation in gear. What does the FAA intend to accomplish by placing this blanket ban on commercial use? Just keeping drone usage down for right now?

  5. Joe DeJohn on January 8, 2021 at 11:07 pm

    I have not read the law or laws, but have heard IBCrazy and the show Flite Test and feel there should be reasonable regulations such as not flying/spying over people’s property and should enforce respect for airspace over people’s homes etc.  There should be an age limit because it seems some of the others think it’s fun to antagonize people by flying low over someone’s property and doing dumb stuff like that.

  6. Soldier53flyer on January 8, 2021 at 11:12 pm

    What so good about that? So if you have big money you can do what ever you like!? SAD! 

  7. on January 8, 2021 at 11:18 pm

    Support My Videos by Buying Me a Cup of Coffee: Thank you! Big news for those in the USA that operate RC helicopters and rc airplanes (aka drones or UAS). The FAA is considering exemption requests from seven companies that would allow them to operate drones for aerial filming or aerial video missions with the FAA’s authorization for the first time. #rchelicopters   #rc   #drones   #avgeek   #faa   #aviation   #aerialvideo   #uas   #aerialfilming   #mpaa   #filmmaking  As we call it, this is the next installment of Drone Wars, Return of the FAA. 😉

  8. Dusty22 on January 8, 2021 at 11:22 pm

    This is so sad, im a FPV flyer and its been my dream to fly a real plane but that’s pricey so I got into FPV a year ago and its just amazing but I can see why the FAA is banning FPV because some not so smart RC pilots go way to high I mean at like airline alt I would hate to see on the news a model killed over 200 ppl in a full size plane. I wish this didn’t happen but ppl posting their videos of high alt long range and just to close to ppl and building killed it for all of us smart model flyers. I have never gone higher then 500 feet because that’s the lowest a full size plane can be to the ground but full size pilots never get that low unless they are landing. I don’t want to seem like a know it all but that’s just the basics of smart FPV flying in my eyes, your not hooked into a flight traffic controller that can tell you a plane is coming your way get out of the way so that to me is just to scary. Its to bad I wish USA could be a leader in this technology because we could make a lot of money and more jobs for ppl that just like to fly models, well that’s what I wanted to get into. This should be treated like cars, they killed use a lot at the start but we keep making them safer and safer why cant we do that with this and not just put a big fat ban on it like make ppl take some classes to get a FPV license or something. ok im done here this is just sad… FLY SMART PEOPLE.

  9. kcnelso2 on January 8, 2021 at 11:41 pm

    Please read and help out in any way possible for this ground breaking case. Thanks so much!!

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