Tags: tmz | drone | rumor | celebrities

TMZ Denies Seeking a Drone to Track Celebrities

Tuesday, 27 Nov 2012 04:38 PM

By Stephen Feller

The gossip website TMZ denied it is seeking a drone aircraft to aid in its reporting after The San Francisco Chronicle published a report on the expected explosion of the domestic drone market in the next couple of years.

Under the headline “We're not keeping up with the Droneses,” the website flatly denied it applied for approval from the FAA to use an unmanned aircraft to enhance how it keeps tabs on Hollywood celebrities.

“TMZ is not getting in the drone business,” the site’s editors wrote in the post.

“There are several major websites citing a story first published in the San Francisco Chronicle . . . which says TMZ filed an application with the Federal Aviation Administration seeking to use a drone device. Truth is . . . while drones are, in fact, awesome . . . it just ain't true. We could drone on and on . . . but you get the point.”

The House Unmanned Systems Caucus, made up of 60 members of Congress, has received roughly $8 million in campaign contributions over the last four years and is pushing legislation that would help open U.S. skies to all manner of the aircraft.

The FAA Modernization and Reform Act, passed by Congress in February, requires the approval of several different sizes of aircraft for flight by September 2015.

"These timelines are very aggressive," Heidi Williams, a vice president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, said. "These issues are very complex, and we have a long way to go."

The AOPA is one of the groups helping to put together regulatory plans for the FAA to govern drone usage. More than 30,000 unmanned craft could be flying in U.S. skies within the next 20 years, according to the FAA, all serving a wide array of purposes.

Already, police departments, private corporations, and universities have applied to use drones at some future point. The Miami-Dade Police Department in Florida already has started to test it’s own drone for use in specific police situations, Gizmodo reported in June.

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