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FairfaxGovernment cable channel adding drones to repertoire

Government cable channel adding drones to repertoire

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Fairfax County Television Channel 16 will purchase a drone and camera to obtain aerial footage of county parks, buildings, facilities and historic landmarks, following unanimous approval March 22 by the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors on Feb. 18 authorized non-public-safety county agencies to operate Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) programs. The Communications Productions Division of the Department of Cable and Consumer Services, which runs Channel 16, intends to implement such a program in coordination with the one managed by the Department of Emergency Management and Security.

Aerial videos obtained by Channel 16 will enhance county television programs highlighting county services, officials said.

“The operational benefit is visually showing locations in geographical context within the county,” wrote Rebecca Makely, acting director of the Department of Cable and Consumer Services, in a Feb. 18 memorandum to county supervisors.


County employees will endeavor to shoot the videos in a way that avoids recognizable members of the public below, but failing that, will acquire signed release forms from those who can be recognized, officials said.

Communications Productions Division staffers who obtain the videos will have been trained through the county’s UAS program and become operators licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration. The drone, camera and operator-license certification will cost $900.

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