Inside Unmanned Systems

AUG-SEP 2017

Inside Unmanned Systems provides actionable business intelligence to decision-makers and influencers operating within the global UAS community. Features include analysis of key technologies, policy/regulatory developments and new product design.

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AIR NEWS REPORTING 26 unmanned systems inside   August/September 2017 we get, we f ly 60 percent and we say no to the other 40 percent. This is not the f lavor du jour. It's not a gadget. It's a really effective tool in communicating what we need to communicate to our viewers and users." These f lights require a lot of planning, Moushey said, so the earlier they can get re- quests to deploy a drone for a story the better. As soon as they receive a request, the team con- sults a map to see how close the assignment is to the airport, and will communicate with air traffic control to let them know they're flying. "It can be a challenge with the speed of news. You can't always get into locations ethically and safely," Moushey said. "We always keep that in mind when planning f lights." When CNN decides to fly a drone for a story, the team then has to determine which drone is best for the job, Agvent said. It's not one size fits all when it come to the aircraft's capabilities. Their fleet is made up of very small drones that are easy to deploy, tethered systems and higher end systems for the times when production re- quirements call for a more stable platform. No matter what drone a newsroom uses or what story they're covering, it's important for the team to listen to the pilot in command, said Mickey Osterreicher, general counsel for the National Press Photographers Association (NPPA). If the pilot says it's not safe to f ly, whether it's because of weather, airspace re- strictions or any number of other reasons, the rest of the team has to respect that decision, just as they would a pilot of a manned aircraft they wanted to deploy. Simply put, newsrooms need to develop a culture of safety surrounding their drone program. The SBG stations follow a 22 page operations manual that includes FAA guidelines as well as company-wide operations guidelines for pilots, Rose said. The manual covers all their setups in detail and includes checklists that help with pre-f light planning. If any issues come up dur- ing or before the assignment, pilots can refer to the manual for guidance. This ensures ev- eryone in the company is on the same page, enabling the news team at every station to op- erate professionally and safely. "There's a real temptation to believe the drone is new and different and changes things completely. That's not really true," Waite said. "It's an extremely useful and f lexible tool but it's just a tool. There still needs to be a story. There still needs to be humanity. You can't just bust out a drone and get three minutes of aerial video, stick it on air and call it a day. It requires a lot more forethought than chucking it in a bag and heading out to the story." Preparing for Drones As with any other sector of users, journalists need to learn how to properly f ly UAS and to understand the FAA regulations, Osterreicher said. They need to invest in insurance as well as put the proper policies and procedures into place, and that includes maintaining the drone and keeping f light logs. That's why training programs have started to pop up, as well as courses in journalism schools. Tra ining at V irg inia Tech, a n FA A- designated UAS Test Site, consists of a day of classroom work focused on Part 107 rules and Photo courtesy of Sinclair Broadcast Group (SBG). IT'S POPULAR SBG station viewers love drone video, said Jeff Rose, chief UAS pilot. The news team also posts the video on websites and streams live on social media, where they get instant positive feedback. "The interest in drone video from our viewers is off the charts," Rose said. Jeff Rose, chief UAS pilot for SBG THE WHOLE STORY ISN'T TOLD WITH A DRONE, BUT IN CERTAIN CASES THERE ARE GREAT PICTURES FROM A DRONE THAT HELP TO TELL THE STORY WITH A BIG BENEFIT." "

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