Meet 'Dexter'

With new tools and technology rolling into the marketplace every day, we have the opportunity to find and use the best of them to bring you the stories from around the region in unique and memorable ways.

That's why we're excited to tell you about our latest newsgathering tool, DEXTER, the KING5 Drone. The #K5Drone is not a simple off the shelf retail model, it's one of the best professional sUAS aircraft available for its newsgathering mission. A DJI Inspire 1Pro, with a 4K HD Camera and fixed 15mm wide angle lens. Drones themselves are not new. What is new is a section of FAA rules that now allow use of sUAS (Small Unmanned Aerial systems - aka drones) for business and commercial operations, like TV stations, on a regular basis. Before these recent FAA rules were enacted, drones could only be flown for commercial/non-recreational uses under a special FAA waiver.

Airspace and the conditions for flying all types of aircraft are regulated by federal rules, not by state or local regulations. At the top of list under the new regulations, commercial/business drone flights must have FAA licensed remote pilot - with a Part 107 certification - in command of the aircraft.

Some of the other FAA rules for these type of flights that have to be followed (unless a specific waiver is granted) include telling us in what areas or "airspace" we can fly in, that these drones can only operate during daytime hours, that they cannot directly over people, and that the aircraft always has to stay within line of sight.

Safety and your privacy are our top priorities

In addition to the FAA remote pilot license/certification, we have extensive training for all the company's drone pilots and crew members assisting in flights. The training not only includes operation of the aircraft, but heavily stresses safety and consistency in following our policies and procedures, before during and after every flight.

Some of those policies and procedures that are part of our own internal rules include always have at least a 2-person crew involved in the flight operation, conducting safety and mission briefings, following checklists, that the crew is always focused on the flight and not on other business or distractions, clear communication, working with public safety officials and never invading privacy. The camera on the aircraft is a very wide angle lens. It cannot zoom into windows or would be used to look into buildings.

What drone video does bring to you is a new perspective. The news helicopters most of us are used to usually fly above 1000'. Drones fly much lower. While they can generally only fly up to 400', they often can be used in situations that news helicopters aren't practical. The drone will be a new tool that we can use to get that new angle on many more news events in our area and to bring the beautiful vistas of our region to viewers that we haven't been able to show in this way before.

We've named our drone "Dexter." Longtime KING 5 viewers know our station used to be located on Dexter Avenue in South Lake Union. Now we're using part of our history as we take off with this new technology.


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