Except for law enforcement, firefighters, search and rescue, and a few others, the FAA has not officially granted permission to use drones higher than 400 feet.
But now, Hollywood wants in.
Seven film production companies are asking the FAA to approve the use of drones for film making.
But making the rules takes a while, so the regulators can find out how to handle incidents like what happened last year at the Great Bull Run in Dinwiddie, Virginia.
A drone being used to capture video there crashed after a battery failed, and sent the drone careening into the crowd.
There was also a much more serious incident last month in Tallahassee, when a drone nearly collided with a U.S. Airways jet.
But to hear Jim Williams, the FAA official in charge of drone regulations, they are going to bend over backwards to accommodate filmmakers. “If these certification rules don’t work for you – propose your own. We’ll look at them, work with you, we’ll figure out a way to approve that aircraft.”
Williams was speaking at a conference of drone of manufacturers and sounded down right deferential.
“We feel your pain, we want to make this move forward. That’s why we’re trying to do what we can, and the filming industry is leading the way.”
Among the Hollywood producers that want to use drones is Jerry Bruckheimer, who confirmed a sequel to “Top Gun” with Tom Cruise is in the works. It’s actually about drones and whether they can replace fighter pilots.
My guess is that Tom ends up using them for target practice.
And if the FAA does open the skies to these things, which may make a lot of noise flying through your neighborhood, there may be a lot of target practice going on.