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Facebook's impressive aerial photo highlights confusion over drone regulations

Martyn Williams | April 27, 2015
When Facebook expanded into a new campus in late March, the company released a stunning aerial photo of the site captured from a drone. In taking the picture, Facebook almost certainly broke two FAA regulations governing drone use.

Indeed, Bedwell Bayfront Park near Facebook's campus is a popular weekend location for Silicon Valley drone enthusiasts despite its proximity to both Palo Alto and San Carlos airports. Some YouTube videos show drones flying from the park to over 3,000 feet — much higher than permitted and close to the altitude of jets on approach paths to nearby San Francisco International Airport.

The FAA has proposed a new set of regulations that would allow companies to fly drones, but they are not expected to be enacted until late 2016 or early 2017. A public comment period on the proposal ends on Friday.

 

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