Skip to main content

Sinclair Commits to Drone Safety PSAs, Development

WASHINGTON—Sinclair Broadcast Group has committed to running public service announcements for the “Know Before You Fly” campaign aimed at drone safety. Sinclair made the pledge at the White House “Drones and the Future of Aviation” workshop Tuesday. Sinclair said it was the only broadcaster to be invited to the event.

Sinclair committed to running the PSAs across its 81 U.S. markets. The “Know Before You Fly” campaign was created by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and the Academy of Model Aeronautics in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of drones.

Sinclair said it was an early adopter of drone-based journalism. In 2014, the company began working with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership at Virginia Tech to develop safety protocols for newsgathering and to train its journalists how to fly drones in real-life scenarios. This program grew to involve 16 media companies working with Virginia Tech, one of six test sites established by Congress to collect aircraft and flight data from small drones, SBG said.

Earlier this year, Sinclair joined national stakeholders and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration to develop best practices for commercial drone use. Sinclair worked to garner consensus on the final “Voluntary Best Practices for UAS Privacy, Transparency, and Accountability” in May 2016, which aims to balance privacy concerns and the First Amendment.

With the adoption of the FAA’s final rules for small drones in June 2016, Sinclair said it would expand its training program to 22 pilots, focusing on the safe operation of drones for newsgathering by journalists. Sinclair also plans to collaborate with Virginia Tech on advanced equipment safety and share with them compilations of flight data from news-based drone operations.