CNN Gets Permission to Fly Drones Over News Events

By A.J. Katz 

It may not be a blimp, but CNN is bringing a unique style of overhead coverage of breaking news events to its audiences.

The news network has received approval from the FAA to fly drones while covering events involving large crowds.

This is the first time CNN will have the ability to fly an unmanned aircraft system, or “UAS,” over crowds of people at an altitude of up to 150 feet above ground level.


“This waiver signifies a critical step forward not only for CNN’s UAS operations, but also the commercial UAS industry at large,” CNN svp of legal David Vigilante said in a statement. “We are truly grateful to the FAA for allowing CNN to demonstrate its continued commitment to safe UAS operations.”

The waiver from the FAA authorizes CNN to operate the Snap UAS, a frangible, 1.37-pound aircraft with enclosed rotors that made of “deformable material”, over crowds.

“Vantage created the Snap for the purpose of safely capturing aerial video over people,” said Vantage Robotics CEO Tobin Fisher. “We are pleased that Vantage was able to work with CNN to present and establish the safety case for the Snap to the FAA.”

CNN recently became the the first organization to be granted a Part 107 waiver by the FAA to fly a unmanned aircraft system over people for closed-set motion picture and TV film.