To whom it may concern,
I was wondering if I could get some official feedback from the FAA on the matter of the prohibition to use commercial (S)UAS systems in the US as well as any legal framework for the recreational use of (S)UAS systems in the US.
I have lots of friends and acquaintances in L.A. who work in the movie industry across the US. They tell me the FAA has been bearing down on them and have prohibited them to use their remotely operated camera rigs to shoot footage. I'm specifically referring to remote piloted and controlled RC helicopters and airplanes which are commonly used for this purpose.
I plan to be visiting the US in 2012, and have the intention to bring a first person view (FPV) piloted RC controlled helicopter, as well as a FPV piloted RC controlled foam airplane to shoot footage of some of the marvelous landscapes in the Rocky Mountains, as well as in the San Francisco area, I'll be visiting.
I would greatly appreciate it if you could comment on the following:
1. Can I use the above mentioned FPV piloted helicopter and/or airplane to shoot footage for recreational purposes, i.e. holiday footage from the places I intend to visit?
2. Can I use the above mentioned FPV piloted helicopter and/or airplane to shoot footage for commercial purposes, i.e. to sell recorded footage to interested parties?
3. If 1. is yes and 2. is no, can you please outline and argument in detail why there's a discrepancy?
4. If 2. is yes but requires a license of some sort, how do I obtain such a license and what are the requirements associated with it?
5. If 1. and 2. are no, can you explain in layman's terms the motivation to suspend the use of (S)UAS for commercial purposes in the US pending laws being made? In my experience with (S)UAS development over the past decade (I'm a (S)UAS developer myself) there's several reasons why the FAA might find their use objectionable, however I fail to find any such argumentation or reasons provided by the FAA at this point.
I'd be very appreciative of a reply and would welcome further discussion.
Sander Sassen - MSc(EE), BSc(ME)
Edam, The Netherlands