The Roman Catholic archdiocese of Washington has bought a drone, in a bid to expand their offerings in a social media age.
First used in the beatification celebrations for Pope John Paul II and John XXIII, the drone flew around the procession from Basilica of the Immaculate Conception to the National Shrine and captured video that later was used in a YouTube video. All of this is part of a new push by the church to get more into social media, but it is not without its challenges.
While the archdiocese’s drone operators made sure only to shoot on private properties — not the roads between — the Federal Aviation Administration and the Transportation Safety Administration has forbidden all unmanned aircraft to operate within a 15-mile radius around Reagan National Airport, said FAA spokesman Les Dorr. The procession area is inside that zone.
The FAA also requires commercial users to seek permission for drone use, and approvals are on a case-by-case basis. These limitations are being hotly contested in court, said Timothy Reuter, head of the D.C. Area Drone User Group, the largest group of drone hobbyists in the country.
So, for future reference, social media pioneers: drones can come in handy, but only away from international airports.
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