NH city ignores FAA, uses drone for video

Posted Feb 2, 2014 by Martin Laine
Nashua, NH, is using a video featuring aerial views to promote the community. The problem is that it was shot by a company using a civilian drone without a special certificate from the Federal Aviation Authority, and that’s not legal.
A surveillance drone used in London during the Olympics
A surveillance drone used in London during the Olympics
The video features startling views of the state's second largest city, including a close-up of the golden eagle on top of City Hall. It’s posted on the Nashua Dares website, where it is being used as part of the city’s branding program.
According to an FAA website, the use of drones for commercial purposes is strictly limited, citing safety concerns. A special certificate is required, and as very few are granted, more and more drones are taking to the air legally or not.
The video was shot by New Sky Productions under a contract to produce two short videos about the city, at a cost of $7,000, according to an article in the Nashua Telegraph. The company was hired because of its ability to shoot drone videos.
“What sets the firm apart is their new technology, in particular, camera-mounted drones,” according to a memo from Thomas Galligani, the city’s Economic Development Director, as reported in the Telegraph story. “No other Nashua-area has these ground and air capabilities.”
Company co-founder Grant Morris of Nashua said it is time that the FAA update its policies to reflect the growing civilian use of drones, such a filming high-end real estate properties for sale and wedding videos.
“We're merely testing the waters on this. I understand why it’s a hot-button issue. Safety should be everyone’s No. 1 priority here,” Morris said. “But (drones are) being used all over the place today; a lot of companies are using them even though the FAA hasn’t issued a ruling on it. They need to start licensing it.”