By Jessica Hall
PORTLAND – A new company that uses small flying drones to take aerial videos and photographs may be operating in violation of Federal Aviation Administration rules.
Chris Trafford, left, operates the camera and Rob Mitchell guides the drone carrying the camera as the HoverFlow owners take aerial photos in South Portland on Thursday.
HoverFlow has sold some video images to clients, but under federal rules, drones can’t yet be used for commercial purposes, said Chris Trafford, the Portland company’s creative director and co-founder.
That may change by 2015, but for now the FAA says drone technology can be used only by hobbyists or emergency personnel, not businesses.
“If you’re flying an unmanned aircraft for fun or recreation, you’re a hobbyist. As soon as you use that aircraft for commercial purposes, the FAA says, ‘We regulate you’ and it’s not allowed yet,” said Ben Gielow, government relations manager and general counsel for the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International.