July 11--Federal regulations will prevent the city of Spartanburg from using video footage from a drone taken during Red White and Boom on the Fourth of July.
The regulations, which went into effect in 2012 but were clarified on June 23, allow drones for recreational and hobby purposes, but don't allow for commercial use. For commercial purposes, a certified aircraft, licensed pilot and operating approval are required.
The Federal Aviation Administration is "looking into an unmanned aircraft operation" during the city event, according to a FAA statement. The FAA reviews operations that aren't for hobby or recreation on a case-by-case basis and could issue a warning letter, letter of correction or civil penalties, if warranted, according to the statement.
A production company, Green Giant Media, that the city contracts with suggested using the drone to get video footage from the annual Fourth of July concert and fireworks show, said City Communications Manager Will Rothschild. Getting similar video using aircraft would be expensive and impractical, Rothschild said.
The media company had used drones in the past with no issues, but Red White and Boom! was the first event where they had used a drone since the new regulations.
City staffers spoke to Federal Aviation Administration officials Tuesday and said as long as the city didn't purchase the video footage from Green Giant, they were in the clear, Rothschild said.
Rothschild said he was disappointed the city wouldn't be able to purchase or view the footage. The city had not paid Green Giant Media, since they issue bills after services are provided.
"The good news is no taxpayer funds were used," Rothschild said. "I feel bad for these video production companies that bought these drones as a way to further their business and to offer another service to their customers."
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