WSB to use drones for news, weather coverage

ATLANTA — Unmanned aerial vehicles, better known as drones, are becoming an important part of newsgathering starting this week.

Channel 2 Action News is the first local station to legally fly them. The FAA granted us a special exemption Tuesday.

For more than a year, meteorologist Brad Nitz has led a team of engineers, producers and pilots on a mission to get WSB's certification. It’s a big milestone for Channel 2 Action News.

The project started over a year ago when Channel 2 Action News visited the Georgia Tech Research Institute and partnered with its engineers.

Our station wanted to use drones to enhance our coverage, but thought it was important to do it the right way. The FAA has a lot of restrictions on drone use, like staying away from airports, not flying over people and staying below 200 feet.

"You may be asking yourself, what does a meteorologist have to do with drones? Well, I’m actually a licensed pilot and I believe these can play an important part in forecasting and covering weather,” Nitz said.

Channel 2 Action News is working with the FAA to safely reduce the restrictions on when and where drones can fly.

Even now, they can fly in places a helicopter can't, giving viewers a more intimate perspective.

The technology is still new, but Channel 2 Action News is committed to staying on the cutting edge. You're going to see more drones in the air and more coverage of news and weather from above.