FAA Grants Approval for Drone Flights During Disney Park’s Nighttime Shows

The Federal Aviation Authrority has accepted Disney's application for drone flights, clearing the way for their use in nighttime spectaculars at the theme parks.

Disney has been working on drone technology for use in the parks for the last couple of years, and although the technology itself is now ready, a number of FAA restrictions had stood in the way.

Photo Credit: Disney

Photo Credit: Disney

Flixels are to accompany entertainment at the Walt Disney World® and Disneyland® Resorts, including during each resort’s nightly Fireworks Spectaculars. Deployed from a monitored platform designated as the launch/land area in restricted access areas of each resort, Flixels will be “magically” incorporated into Disney story elements that engage and inspire children and their families.

The Flixels’ fleet consists of four, six, or eight propeller multicopters. Flixels operate within assigned subnetworks for communication to the ground and each other, where each subnetwork comprises five multicopters. Each Flixels weighs less than ten pounds. Each multicopter includes a special effects element (e.g., LED lighting), battery, and wireless signal receiver/radio. Flixels will flyslower than six knots groundspeed during a short (e.g., five minute) airborne segment. All Flixels flights are restricted to an airspace no more than 600 feet in diameter and Flixels’ maximum flight level will be no higher than 150 feet AGL.

An application for the FAA restrictions on drone use to be lifted was filed back in October 2015, and a waiver has now been granted.

Specifically, Disney can operate drones during nighttime, in multiples, and over Special Security Notice Flight Restriction Areas and Class G airspace. The waiver is effective from November 1, 2016 to November 30, 2020.

Although Disney has not made any announcements about drone use in the parks, all of the existing nighttime shows could be enhanced with their inclusion. And of course, entirely new shows could be developed with the technology, perhaps bringing night shows to locations that were previously unsuitable.

Source: WDW Magic

Banner Photo Credit: Disney