Friday, September 9, 2016

KATV adds drone; ready for 'ideal' news story — flood or tornado

Posted By on Fri, Sep 9, 2016 at 7:39 AM

click to enlarge NEW DRONE: Looking for the 'ideal' shot. - KATV
  • KATV
  • NEW DRONE: Looking for the 'ideal' shot.
KATV announced yesterday that it is adding a drone to its news-gathering equipment.

Its news release brought back memories of a certain famous Little Rock TV weatherman who said on air in a moment of storm excitement years ago that he hoped that a tornado would pop up that could be captured with the station's new "Live Eye" camera. The folks near the Southwest Little Rock overpass where the camera was rolling didn't share his sentiment and said so.

From the KATV news release on the new drone, a quote from "chief pilot" Jeff Rose of Sinclair USA, owner of KATV :

"The ideal news scenes we'll be covering is floods and right after a tornado when a town is wiped out," Rose said.
Ouch.  The pilot could have used a little editing. Though it is also reminiscent of Michael Kinsley's famous line: A gaffe is when a politician accidentally speaks the truth.

The full news release:

You may have noticed the debut of Sky 7, the Channel 7 drone, in our newscasts. On Tuesday, we became the first news station in the state to fly a drone.

The Federal Aviation Administration changed their rules on August 29 in which news stations could start using drones.

"This is absolutely going to produce video that people have never seen before from places they've never seen before," Jeff Rose, Sinclair UAS Chief Pilot, said.

Sky 7 is 6 lbs. Our operators, Brian Emfinger and Barry Deere, can fly it up to 400 feet, zoom in on the action and give viewers a complete aerial shot of a scene. Experts say it's truly a game changer.

However, drones cannot be flown at night or over people and operators must have a remote pilot airman certificate. There's also a restricted air space like at airports of the Air Force Base.

"The FAA requires single operations for this kind of thing, but in Sinclair we're going to require two things for safety," Rose said.

Emfinger and Deere did a three day training at Virginia Tech and both had to pass a test to get a certificate. Emfinger will keep his eyes on the aircraft as Deere will control the picture you see.

"The ideal news scenes we'll be covering is floods and right after a tornado when a town is wiped out," Rose said.

KATV is one of six stations owned by the Sinclair Broadcasting Group that will start to cover news from the sky within the next two weeks. Rose said by the end of 2017, 40 Sinclair stations will be flying drones.

"We're not going to be hovering over people's back yards and looking in places we shouldn't be looking. We're going to use our professionalism as we do in journalism," Rose said.


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