Use of Drones in Monterey County for Filming

From the California Film Commission: The FAA’s permanent regulations regarding the use of drones for commercial use (Unmanned Aircraft Rule – Part 107) will go into effect in August. Until then, the California Film Commission will be reviewing the implications of the new regulations and creating revised guidelines for filming on state-owned and operated properties.

Therefore, please check the CFC website at: Requirements for the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) When Filming on State Property or call Eve Honthaner at 323-860-2960, ext. 136, to get the latest information on the State’s policies pertaining to the use of drones. Also note that until further notice, both State Parks and Caltrans will be reviewing requests for the use of drones on a case-by-case basis; and if approved, their own guidelines will apply.

The following are links to the new regulations, a summary of Part 107 rules and an FAA fact sheet:

Please note that Part 107 will not apply to model aircraft. Model aircraft operators must continue to satisfy all the criteria specified in Section 336 of Public Law 112-95 (which will now be codified in part 101), including the stipulation they be operated only for hobby or recreational purposes.

Caltrans Policy/Filming with Drones

Submissions for permits that include the use of UAS over Caltrans property will now be reviewed on a case-by-case basis. Caltrans guidelines for the use of a UAS are as follows:

  • Use of a UAS will be treated as a complex shoot and as any freeway closure. There could therefore be up to a 15- (business) day approval process. If, however, all required documents are submitted in a timely manner and Caltrans is satisfied with the plan of activities, the turnaround time could be as short as seven (7) business days. Depending on the requirements, at least one meeting with Caltrans, CHP, CFC and other affected entities would be required to discuss logistics.
  • Until further notice, drone operators retained by productions must possess FAA 333 exemptions.
  • Insurance requirements will be consistent with State guidelines (follow this link to review insurance requirements.)
  • Requests for the use of UAS over Caltrans property will not be considered without the submission of a Plan of Activities (POA).
  • UAS operators must adhere to all current and future FAA mandated rules with regard to distances from airports, military installations and any person(s) or property.
  • It is the responsibility of the permitee to obtain all necessary jurisdictional approvals and to submit a POA and proof of required insurance coverage within a timely manner.

If approved:

  • The radius constituting the mandatory closed set must include 500-feet beyond any point of the roadway.
  • UAS pilots (with the approval of Caltrans) may decrease the perimeter of the closed set if barriers or structures are present that would sufficiently protect nonparticipating persons from the UAS and/or debris in the event of an accident. Please note however that permission to reduce the perimeter must also be granted by Caltrans.
  • ITC or closures will be enforced from both directions, creating full closures on both sides of the freeway/road. Please note that ITC shall be performed on conventional highways only, and filming with a UAS must occur within 3- to 5-minute ITC windows. UAS filming on freeways is restricted to the ends of freeways where full freeway closures are feasible and adequate detours are available.
  • No driving with the flow of traffic will be allowed when a UAS is involved.
  • Productions must work with all applicable city jurisdictions to facilitate the closing of all relevant over-crossings and under-crossings during filming with a UAS.
  • If the road to be closed for UAS filming is adjacent to a beach or park, permission must also be granted from the Park’s film liaison.
  • Caltrans has the right to assign a monitor to be on-set during UAS flights over Caltrans freeways, highways and roads.
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