Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs), a/k/a “DRONES”

The use of UAVs, or drones, is allowed for production in the city and county of Santa Fe with the following provisos:

  1. All use must comply with FAA rules regarding the use of commercial drones. A summary of the FAA rules can be found here.
  2. While not requiring a special permit at this time, ALL users of drones for commercial production purposes (film/tv/video/photographic shoots/etc.) must inform the Santa Fe Film Office of when and where the drone(s) will be used, and for what project. This includes productions with five or fewer crew. The reason is so we can give a head’s up to our safety departments (fire/police/EMT) that drones will be in use, so they don’t freak out. All other normal permitting requirements also apply; we’re strictly talking about drone use here.
  3. A copy of the drone operators’ FAA operating certificate must also be provided to the SFFO for the production file (a certificate is required by the FAA to operate commercial UAVs).
  4. While there are specific proscriptions for using commercial UAVs spelled out in the FAA regulations, beyond these we ask that you just use common sense: Don’t do stuff that could endanger life, limb or property in case of drone malfunction or lousy flying; please don’t invade others’ personal privacy or normal activity; don’t operate in the vicinity of secure facilities such as prisons, airports and such (this carries potential serious legal consequences); get permission to use the UAV from any property owner whose property will be used or featured in the production; etc.

We want you to be able to make use of this amazing and evolving technology for many years to come. Please use it wisely for everyone’s sake.