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NYPD Adopts New Drone Rules

For a number of years, the use of drones was significantly curtailed due to overly restrictive regulations IN NYC. Drones were limited to very few areas approved by the DOT and model aircraft fields listed by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The rules essentially precluded the use of drones in most everyday reporting. The new rules provide some relaxation with respect to the locations that can be used for landing and take-offs. Unfortunately, the new regulations will prevent the use of drones for covering unforeseen live-breaking news events.

Persons seeking to use drones must file an application detailing the takeoff and landing site 30 days in advance of the flight. In some limited instances, this could be reduced to 14 days. Obviously, journalists do not know when and where a breaking news event will take place. As a result, the rules would preclude the use of drones for covering many news events. Nonetheless, it could allow coverage of news events that are scheduled in advance, such as coverage of a political rally or parade. In a press release, NYPD stated:

"Under the new permitting process, applicants are required to submit applications to take-off or land unmanned aircraft within the five boroughs through the NYPD Online Services Portal website. Each application must contain proof that each proposed operator is licensed to fly unmanned aircraft by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Except in limited circumstances, applications must be submitted 30 days in advance of the earliest proposed take-off or landing. Applicants will receive an email notification when their applications have been processed, and permits will be made available to approved applicants electronically, forty-eight (48) hours before a scheduled/approved flight."

There are a number of additional rules. For example, users must meet FAA requirements. These requirements are listed in the new regulations which can be accessed below.

NYSBA, along with the New York News Publishers Association, RTDNA, the National Press Photographers Association, and others had urged NYPD to enact rules that would allow the use of drones in covering live news events. Unfortunately, NYPD did not want to expand the rules to allow such use.

You can see NYPD’s press release here.

You can access the new NYPD regulations here.

You can apply for a permit to fly a drone here.

You can see our filing with NYPD here.



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