Two years after its chopper took flight, WCPO, the E.W. Scripps-owned ABC affiliate in Cincinnati, has officially launched Sky 9, a 4K, ultra high-definition camera quadcopter—also known as a drone.
"Sometimes the chopper is the better picture. Sometimes the ground crew is the better picture, and there's going to be many times where Sky 9 has the best picture," general manager Jeff Brogan said.
Under the FAA’s strict regulations for commercial drone use, three people are required to fly the aircraft – a pilot, a photographer with camera controls and a third person watching for obstacles. The station can’t fly the drone over private property without permission from the owner. The FAA has to grant clearance as well.
And regardless of its capabilities, Sky 9 will be grounded if it could interfere with activity in critical situations, Brogan said.
"We have a job to do, which is to tell that story, but we want to be within our legal rights to do that," Brogan said. "And then we also want to be within our moral and ethical rights to protect people on the ground, including police officers."