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The Dallas Cowboys are the latest sports franchise to get the green light from the FAA (PDF) for drone operations during their practices and internal video productions.
Don't expect to see UAVs floating above any games, though. This exemption, as the FAA calls the permission to operate drones against the usual regulations, only applies to "aerial data collection, videography and imaging of ... training facilities."
That means the team can use drones to record things like practice, drills and promotional footage — but not live games, where thousands of bystanders might be at risk from an errant UAV. Among other limitations, the drone (in the team's case, a DJI Phantom 3) will have to stay below 400 feet and must be operated by a trained, accredited pilot with line of sight to the craft.
The Cowboys have actually already been using drones to record practices, perhaps in anticipation of a favorable decision by the FAA. The regulatory organization approved a similar application by the NFL itself in September, so Dallas management must have known it wasn't frowned on.
The FAA has been rushing to establish rules and regulations for the fast-growing drone economy, requiring many to be registered but taking its time to accommodate companies pushing for commercial applications for drone use.