Orlando Station Starts Using Drones

By Kevin Eck 

Orlando ABC affiliate WFTV has started using drones in its news coverage.

WFTV gm Paul Curran told the Orlando Sentinel the FAA is allowing the station to fly its drone “provided we adhere to rigorous safety and regulatory practices (something we want as much as them).”

To viewers concerned about what this new coverage might mean, Curran said: “We will walk before we run from a coverage standpoint as there are restrictions over flying near populated areas (for good reason). Even though we will be flying with a licensed pilot and observer, our initial plan will be to stick to opportunities where we can provide viewer benefit in less populated zones.”

Curran also stressed that the drone flights will be logged in a similar fashion to regular airplane flights and the station will put forth its flight plans 24 hours in advance. Curran said early coverage will likely focus on features and specials instead of breaking news and live weather.

“Weather aftermath pictures are certainly in the mix short term,” he said. “We can certainly find innovative ways to use these drones for breaking news in the future, but until a safe and approved policy is enacted, we will continue to use our Chopper 9 helicopter for that angle to our coverage.”

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