Since the FAA authorized commercial use of small drones in late August, Sinclair has launched drone teams in Washington, DC, Baltimore, MD, Green Bay, WI, Columbus, OH, Little Rock, AR, and Tulsa, OK. At the tech fair, Sinclair displayed a video compilation of news footage it has captured using drone-based photography, including surveys of earthquake and flood damage, traffic, local parades and fairgrounds, and a high school softball game. That compilation maybe be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPNMvLl5lWc&feature=youtu.be
Sinclair also sent two drone pilots to Iowa to cover the flooding in Cedar Rapids, IA, over the past 72 hours. The CBS2/FOX 28 Quad Copter gave the community unique perspectives on the rising water, the newly constructed flood wall, and citizens pulling together to save their homes and businesses. This event also highlights Sinclair's commitment to keeping our communities safe and providing unmatched coverage. That footage may be viewed here: http://bit.ly/2dblC9H.
"Our drone program is off to a great start, with safety being the top priority," said Jeff Rose, Chief Pilot for Sinclair's drone operations. "Our policy is to have two operators for each aircraft; one to fly the drone and one to focus solely on the photography. We also meet with local law enforcement as part of our training and before we begin operations. We think establishing coordination protocols at the outset with police, fire and other first responders is critical for the safety of our communities as we incorporate the use of this new technology."
Sinclair has been an early leader among broadcasters seeking to advance the use of drones by journalists. In 2014, the company began working with the Mid-Atlantic Aviation Partnership (MAAP) at Virginia Tech to develop safety protocols for newsgathering and to train its journalists how to fly drones in real-life scenarios. In the future, Sinclair plans to share compilations of flight data from news-based drone operations with Virginia Tech to advance equipment safety. By the end of 2017, Sinclair will have 80 trained and FAA-certified drone pilots in 40 markets.
About Sinclair: Sinclair is one of the largest and most diversified television broadcasting companies in the country. Including pending transactions, the Company owns, operates and/or provides services to 173 television stations in 81 markets, broadcasting 482 channels and having affiliations with all the major networks. Sinclair is the leading local news provider in the country, as well as a producer of live sports content. Sinclair's content is delivered via multiple-platforms, including over-the-air, multi-channel video program distributors, and digital platforms. The Company regularly uses its website as a key source of Company information which can be accessed at www.sbgi.net.
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SOURCE Sinclair Broadcast Group, Inc.