For journalists, using unmanned aircraft – drones – to capture photo and video can lead to more effective reporting. But safely deploying this new technology in environments that may be complex and unpredictable requires careful preparation.

The Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership has developed a training program for journalists that is being used by Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc., one of the country’s largest broadcasting companies.

“Journalists have always thought about how to get the right shot — now they have to think about the flight, too,” said Mark Blanks, the director of the Virginia Tech Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership, or MAAP. “That’s where we come in: how can you get the shot you want and still stay within the limits of aviation safety and comply with Federal Aviation Administration rules? Working with a major player like Sinclair to develop tools the news industry can use to fly responsibly is part of our mandate to integrate this technology safely into the national airspace.”

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