Sky 2 Takes Newsgathering to New Heights - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe Sparks News, Weather, Video

Sky 2 Takes Newsgathering to New Heights

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Channel 2 News has launched the first commercial drone for news gathering in Reno, but getting our "Sky2" camera in the air takes a lot more than simply buying all the pieces.

Checking the weather conditions, the drone's firmware for updates, and its rotor blades for breaks or bends is just part of the pre-flight check list. 

Since it is a commercial drone (meaning it is used for business) our pilot has to be licensed and registered with the Federal Aviation Administration. The process takes hours of studying and training.

"I had to learn how to read weather, how to speak pilot," says Channel 2 News Photographer Gene Vance, " I had to learn just about everything they want me to know so I don't run into a plane on accident... or people."

Sky2 will allow us to show you the news like never before seen in Reno, from burn areas after fires, to live looks at traffic, but there are several other regulations we must follow, even with a licensed Remote Pilot. Our station policy allows the pilot to keep his focus on the drone and flying safely, while a second person can focus on controlling the camera.

You can only fly outside of Class C airspace (5 nautical miles from the nearest airport) otherwise you must clear your flight with the air traffic control tower before takeoff. 

Outside that area, we are restricted to flying during the day, from 30 minutes before sunrise until 30 minutes after sunset. There is a 100 mph speed limit. T drone must stay below 400 feet and stay in the pilot's sight at all times, without a spotter. 

"We appreciate the fact that Channel 2, with their new drone, has actually been working with the airport for about a year," says Brian Kulpin, with the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, "You came to a seminar that we hosted, you've worked with our operations department and even worked closely with our control tower, before you put that aircraft into the air. That's the kind of safety that we like to see and that's what businesses need to do. Fly safe and make sure that you're not conflicting with the airport and that way this new industry can grow and thrive."

For more information on commercial drone regulations click here.

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