Washington Nationals cease unauthorized drone flights

Associated Press | The Atlantic

The Washington Nationals used a drone to take photos during spring training, but stopped the flights, which did not have FAA approval, the Associated Press reports. “No, we didn’t get it cleared, but we don’t get our pop flies cleared either and those go higher than this thing did,” an unnamed team official told AP.

NBC used drones during the Sochi Olympics to capture aerial shots during skiing and snowboarding events. Olympic Broadcasting Services told AP's Angela Charlton it had to file flight plans with Russia's civil aviation authority and get permission from law enforcement bodies to fly the small choppers, which "go really, really close" without distracting athletes, cameraman Remo Masina said.

Rachel Feltman wrote about the use of drones in sports photography last month and embedded a video posted by Knoxville News Sentinel reporter Evan Woodbery:


Commercial outlets such as news organizations are prohibited from using drones to capture images. The New York Daily News used footage taken by a drone last week in its coverage of a building explosion in New York. The FAA has in the past frowned on media outlets using drone images. After The (Spokane, Wash.) Spokesman-Review published images taken by an off-duty photographer, an FAA spokesman told Poynter, "There is no gray area." A judge ruled earlier this month that the FAA could not regulate drone flights, a decision the agency quickly appealed.

Related: Journalists await new drone regulations. And wait, and wait…

  • Andrew Beaujon

    Andrew Beaujon reported on the media for Poynter from 2012 to 2015. He was previously arts editor at TBD.com and managing editor of Washington City Paper. He's the author of the 2006 book "Body Piercing Saved My Life," about Christian rock and evangelical Christian culture.


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