Feds approve NFL team for drone flights

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The Federal Aviation Administration has approved the National Football League's Dallas Cowboys to fly drones "to conduct aerial data collection, videography and imaging of its training facilities." 

The flights were approved under a section of federal law that allows the Transportation Department to waive requirements for FAA approval for drone flights that are operated outside of restricted airspace and below 200 feet.

"The FAA has determined that good cause exists for not publishing a summary of the petition in the Federal Register, because the requested exemption would not set a precedent, and any delay in acting on this petition would be detrimental to the petitioner," the agency said in a letter to the NFL team.

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The FAA has approved more than 3,000 drone flights in the process of developing regulations that would allow a rapid expansion of the use of the devices in the U.S.

The agency has faced tremendous pressure to approve an expansion of nonmilitary drone use from companies such as Amazon, which has said the technology can be used to make speedier online deliveries. 

Police and other law enforcement groups were also seeking approval to use the technology, and the FAA has investigated several drone incidents that occurred in conjunction with photography at college and professional sporting events.

The section of law that allows the FAA to grant drone exemptions gives the Transportation Department the authority to drop a requirement that operators of the technology apply for a certificate of airworthiness that is normally required for flights that are formally considered an aircraft.