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Oh, the Places Drones’ll Go
The camera swoops along the driveway, right behind the luxury Audi that just pulled in, Next, it banks right, approaching the open front doors. It flies through the foyer and across the grand room before exiting the rear of the house, giving view to the Jacuzzi and infinity pool and the desert valley below. Finally, it circles overhead, giving the viewer the full expanse of the property. And, of course, it makes sure to pass by agent John Oliver’s sign.
“I think that that particular house – because it was a luxury listing – was something that lent itself very well to ... that kind of marketing tool,” says Oliver, a Realtor with Century 21 Arizona Foothills in Phoenix, who commissioned the video from a professional aerial videographer prior to the Federal Aviation Administration’s 2014 interpretation of the Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which classified real estate purposes as commercial use of unmanned aerial systems, which is prohibited.
In February 2015, however, the FAA issued its proposed rules for using UAS for commercial purposes. The FAA’s proposed framework for the rules focused on three areas: operational limitations, operator certification responsibilities, and aircraft requirements.
• UAS not weigh more than 55 pounds.
• The UAS must remain within the visual line-of-sight of the operator, or visual observer, at all times.
• UAS may not operate over any persons not directly involved in the operation.
• May only operate the UAS from local official sunrise to sunset.
• Maximum altitude of 500 feet above ground level.
Operational Certification Responsibilities
• Operator of the UAS must pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test and obtain an unmanned aircraft operator certificate.
• Requires aircraft registration and that the operator maintain the small UAS in condition for safe operation.
• Operator must conduct a pre-flight inspection of the UAS to ensure its condition is safe for operation.
FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker recently stated that the agency was pushing to rules to be finalized by mid-2016. Until then, the use of UAS for real estate marketing purposes is prohibited without a Section 333 waiver from the FAA.
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