CNN gets approval to fly news drone

CNN gets approval to fly news drone
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CNN has received Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval to fly drones while covering news events involving large crowds, according to a Wednesday announcement from the network.

The Time Warner-owned news organization said it will have the ability for the first time to fly an unmanned aircraft system, or UAS, over crowds of people at an altitude of up to 150 feet.

“This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN’s UAS operations, but also the commercial UAS industry at large,” CNN senior vice president of legal David Vigilante said in the announcement.

The FAA waiver authorizes the news organization to operate a 1.37-pound aircraft with enclosed rotors that is made of deformable material.

The drone, known as a Snap, will be provided by Vantage Robotics, which has worked in conjunction with CNN for more than two years while researching safety precautions for operating while flying over large crowds.

“Vantage created the Snap for the purpose of safely capturing aerial video over people,” said Vantage Robotics CEO Tobin Fisher in a statement. “We are pleased that Vantage was able to work with CNN to present and establish the safety case for the Snap to the FAA.”

Earlier this year, CNN became the first news organization to receive approval for an FAA waiver to fly a small drone over people for closed-set motion picture and television film.