Buried deep within a Section 333 amendment approval issued to Kansas State University (KSU) last week, the FAA changed the set-off distance requirements to allow KSU to conduct flight operations over and near people participating in UAS flight training. Historically, the FAA has granted film and TV production companies special exemptions that allow them to fly aircraft closer than 500 feet to people participating in a filming operation.
Under the set-off requirements granted KSU, a broad range of commercial operators would be able to operate their UAS in situations analogous to a film set, where proper protections have been incorporated into operations.
The policy shift could benefit UAS operators who fly in areas where it is difficult or impossible to stay at least 500 feet away from unsheltered people not involved in the flight operation.
An essential step forward for first responders, those in news and others who work in populated areas.