Another WRAL-TV First: Drone Certification

WRAL's drone footage

WRAL-TV drone footage, captured by WRAL-TV Broadcast Engineer Tony Gupton for a WRAL documentary.

WRAL-TV has achieved another first, becoming one of the first broadcasters to obtain a remote pilots’ certificate from the FAA.  That means WRAL-TV is one of the first stations legally allowed to fly a drone for commercial purposes.

WRAL-TV Broadcast Engineer Tony Gupton joined the first group in the country who took the Federal Aviation Administration’s certification exam to fly small drones for commercial purposes.  He took a three-day drone boot camp from the University of Nebraska’s Drone Journalism Lab specially designed to prepare him for the rigorous test.

Gupton initially spent two weeks at Virginia Tech attending Drone school for Media.  He has taken and passed both the NC Drone exam and the Unmanned Safety Institute exam.

For WRAL, Gupton flies an F-550, 6-blade drone, which weighs less than 10 pounds.

By law, our WRAL pilot must keep the drone in his sight; there are many limitations to commercial drone flight, particularly to protect public safety.  In fact, there are greater limits on commercial drone use than by hobbyists.

Gupton has captured aerial photography for three different WRAL documentaries with the drone.

Phil Kurz of TVNewsCheck recently interviewed Gupton about his journey to passing the FAA’s drone pilot exam, WRAL-TV’s dedicated to safety, and more.  Read the article:

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