PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Above the Pittsburgh Marathon this weekend, three small remote-controlled copters were shooting pictures of the event.
It was not part of a government security system. It was a commercial company called the Fresh Media Group, which was hired by the marathon to shoot video.
KDKA-TV first reported on the use of small drones on Monday.
Now, the Federal Aviation Administration says these drones were unauthorized.
“They wanted to show how large it is, how many people are there, the fun that you have when you’re there,” Fresh Media Group Co-owner Jennifer Trapuzzano said.
The video they captured is pretty awesome and will be used to promote future Pittsburgh Marathons.
However, was it legal to use the drones?
“We didn’t get any sign-off. We made sure that everyone in the city was aware of it. And the Marathon had specs of our copters, and everyone knew where they were going to be, and everyone was behind it,” Trapuzzano said.
Even with local government support, the FAA says the use of these devices requires its approval.
A statement from the FAA read:
“Anyone who wants to fly an aircraft — manned or unmanned — in U.S. airspace needs some level of authorization from the FAA. Commercial operations are only authorized on a case-by-case basis.”
However, it’s not that crystal clear.
A federal court recently tossed out a $10,000 fine the FAA tried to levy on a man who used a similar unmanned copter commercially to shoot a university campus.
The FAA hopes to clear up the confusion with new rules on commercial drones next year.