When most people hear the word “drone,” they probably think of killing machines that patrol war zones.
Now a new kind of commercial drone phenomenon has taken off in the United States. People now use small quad copter drones to even shoot photos and videos for their weddings.
What seems like a stranger than fiction phenomenon is actually a new craze across the country. A congressman last month used a drone to record his own wedding and now is under investigation by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), the government agency that regulates the nation’s airspace, because the agency still has an explicit ban on drone flights for commercial purposes. New York representative Sean Patrick Maloney reportedly hired a local videography company to operate the drone to get aerial shots of his big day in New York’s picturesque Hudson Valley. Ironically, Maloney sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Aviation Subcommittee, which oversees the FAA.
After a flood of complaints in recent months from groups in favor of using drones for commercial purposes, the FAA this month reiterated its position that operating drones to film property or an event is illegal if the purpose is commercial. In Maloney’s case, and likely in those of many other wedding drone videographers, the purpose was commercial because the videographer was paid for the wedding video. Maloney could be charged with breaking the law, though that is unlikely given that the FAA has little power to enforce the policy.