- Associated Press - Thursday, May 4, 2017

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A Nevada firm has become the first company in the nation approved to fly drones over the Las Vegas Strip.

Aerospace company AviSight will be able to fly above the resort corridor including the strip, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported (https://bit.ly/2qw8Fj5 ) Wednesday.

The company plans to perform its first flight this week or early next week.

“We wanted to go out there and fly, but we’ve been swamped with so much other stuff going on we haven’t had the time to go out there and do our maiden voyage,” said William O’Donnell, AviSight vice president of technology.

The approval opens opportunities to contract the drone services, O’Donnell said.

“Here in Las Vegas, 90 percent of the major business is done down in the Strip area,” he said. “You have the movie stuff, that’s going to be huge. Each individual casino that wants marketing pieces to be able to showcase their casinos like never before, now they’re able to with beautiful drone footage.”

O’Donnell also anticipates drone survey capacity to lend a hand to construction-related work.

Several companies are allowed to fly in the same airspace, but AviSight can fly in places adjacent to the strip, Federal Aviation Administration spokesman Ian Gregor said. Other companies are generally limited to one spot, he said.

Each flight will be limited to within a quarter mile of the approved location and below an altitude of 200 feet (61 meters), Gregor said. AviSight’s drones are currently not allowed to fly directly above people. The company must give the Federal Aviation Administration a 24-hour notice and then an immediate notice before flying.

“We can cancel the authorization at any time when we deem it necessary,” Gregor said. “AviSight’s authorization is valid from May 1, 2017 to Nov. 30, 2017. It is quite restrictive to ensure the company’s drones don’t pose hazards to any airplanes or air tour helicopters.”

O’Donnell said he intends to keep renewing the authorization.

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Information from: Las Vegas Review-Journal, https://www.lvrj.com

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