The first comprehensive guidelines for the use of unmanned aircraft was passed by the Policy Committee of the University of Missouri School of Journalism on December 14, 2016.
The action sets “safe, legal and responsible” protocol for students, faculty and staff who wish to fly drones for stories with affiliated School of Journalism news organizations or for classes. The procedures are intended to ensure that the Missouri School of Journalism takes full advantage of the new regulations enacted by the Federal Aviation Administration in June 2016.
The core standards exceeds FAA rules by requiring practical flight experience, as well as an understanding of the concepts under Title 14 CFR, Part 107.
• Direct supervision by a pilot holding an FAA Remote Pilot Airman license.
• Completion of an approved study guide for the FAA Part 107 Knowledge Test.
• A minimum of six hour of hands-on flight training, through an intermediate skill level.
“The goal is to promote a culture of constructive attitude and pattern of behavior that demonstrates a commitment to safety,” said Richard Shaw of the Missouri Drone Journalism program.
The Missouri Drone Journalism program is an interdisciplinary partnership at the University of Missouri dedicated to helping students understand and use small, unmanned aircraft systems in service to society.
Missouri drone captures 360VR for disability project in Africa
The emerging technologies of 360° Virtual Reality video and unmanned aircraft are combined to tell the emotional story of people who have to crawl on the ground because they lack access to all-terrain wheelchairs in Zambia, Africa.
Sarah Hill, with Story Up Studios VR, visited the New Life Center in Zambia in October 2015 to document the story of charity workers as they distribute PET carts (Personal Energy Transportation) to those who are disabled. Sarah and a team of five, including Rick Shaw of the Missouri Drone Journalism program, shot the project using 4K high quality 360° video with a Freedom360 mount and six GoPros Hero4 cameras for an immersive experience.
The challenge began in August 2015 to design an extended bracket for the 360 mount onto the DJI Inspire 1 quadcopter. No commercially designed accessory was on the market, so Rick attracted the help of a College of Engineering student, Muhammad Al-Rawi, to custom design a bracket for the Zambia project.
On Oct. 28, 2015, Sarah’s StoryUp team arrived at The New Life Center Zambia in Kitwe, Zambia. For four days, the team used 360VR and drone aerials to show the distribution of mobility carts, Personal Energy Transportation (PET), to the disabled poor in Africa. One distribution site was located in deep-bush Africa about 40 miles outside of Kitwe. Many of the recipients arrived by crawling, as they have no other means of mobility.
The posts on this project page show how Sarah and Rick embraced this advanced visual approach, experimented with drone aerials, and overcame environmental challenges in remote areas of Zambia.
Our Missouri Drone Journalism program received promotional support from DJI. The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute recently purchased the DJI Inspire 1 for the Missouri Drone Journalism Program at the Missouri School of Journalism. We created a custom tiger-stripe “skin” wrap for the Inspire as branding for a project in Zambia, Africa. We also fly Phantom quadcopters in our class “Civilian Drone Issues, Applications and Flight.”
Rick Shaw attended an intensive symposium workshop on drone flight safety at the Unmanned Safety Institute in Orlando, Florida in June 2015. Read his reflections on the importance of drone safety training. The Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute sponsored his tuition for the specialized training that earned him UAS Safety Certification and UAS Instructor Certification for small unmanned aircraft from the Unmanned Safety Institute, which is affiliated with Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University.
Since government regulations prevent us from doing drone journalism in U.S. airspace, we look for opportunities internationally. To date, our favorite spot to fly is Costa Rica, particularly in the northwestern province of Guanacaste. Below you’ll see some of our recent work there.