Is it OK to take drone photography now, or hire someone to do it ? Not entirely. In February 2015, NAR applauded FAA’s proposed rule to allow commercial drone use for real estate, but it is a PROPOSED rule. They say, “NAR plans to submit comments to the agency and will continue to work with our members to educate them about the future safe, responsible and legal uses of UAVs; however, until the final rule is published, NAR discourages Realtors® from using UAV photography or video for commercial purposes without an FAA exemption.” What happens if you go ahead without an exemption? A photographer was fined $10,000 late last year for flying a drone for commercial purposes without a license or exemption. If you want to dig into the details of the law, FAA rules and information on filing for an exemption, go to the FAA website or continue reading for more information….
Drones in Real Estate: Not so Fast: March 2014 | By Robert Freedman from Realtor.org
Some real estate companies are champing at the bit to incorporate drone photography into their marketing, as news reports make clear. But the commercial use of drones is currently permissible only on a case-by-case basis. So unless you have a certificate of airworthiness from the Federal Aviation Administration, you should keep your drone on the ground, NAR says. “The FAA, in a 2007 statement, very clearly stated that any commercial use of drones without a permit is not permissible,” says NAR Senior Policy Representative Russell Riggs.
In a closely watched case, a photographer for the University of Virginia in Charlottesville was fined $10,000 late last year by the FAA for flying his drone for commercial purposes. The court has since thrown that case out, raising questions about whether the FAA has the authority to take enforcement actions. But caution remains the prudent course. The FAA is slated to issue rules on the commercial use of drones next year. To that end, the agency has authorized tests around the country to help it determine what restrictions are needed to ensure safe operation and to protect national security and people’s privacy.
Editor’s Note: Recently the FAA issued an update that reasserted the agency’s authority to regulate drones and restated their previous assertion that unmanned aerial vehicles are not allowed for any commercial purposes, unless expressly authorized by the agency. Read the full update here.
Realtors® Applaud FAA’s Proposed Rule to Allow Commercial Drone Use for Real Estate
National Association of Realtors® President issued the following statement about new proposed rules for unmanned aircraft systems issued today by the Federal Aviation Administration: “The proposed rules announced today for the commercial use of unmanned aerial vehicles are good news for property owners and Realtors® who desire to embrace cutting-edge technology to enhance the process of buying and selling real estate with images gathered by unmanned aerial vehicles. “Realtors® support the proposed federal regulation, which would allow for safe commercial use of UAV technology by the real estate industry for the purposes of marketing real estate.
“NAR plans to submit comments to the agency and will continue to work with our members to educate them about the future safe, responsible and legal uses of UAVs; however, until the final rule is published, NAR discourages Realtors® from using UAV photography or video for commercial purposes without an FAA exemption.”
From the FAA website about the Exemption process: Section 333
By law, any aircraft operation in the national airspace requires a certificated and registered aircraft, a licensed pilot, and operational approval. Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (FMRA) (PDF) grants the Secretary of Transportation the authority to determine whether an airworthiness certificate is required for a UAS to operate safely in the National Airspace System (NAS). This authority is being leveraged to grant case-by-case authorization for certain unmanned aircraft to perform commercial operations prior to the finalization of the Small UAS Rule, which will be the primary method for authorizing small UAS operations once it is complete.
The Section 333 Exemption process provides operators who wish to pursue safe and legal entry into the NAS a competitive advantage in the UAS marketplace, thus discouraging illegal operations and improving safety. It is anticipated that this activity will result in significant economic benefits, and the FAA Administrator has identified this as a high priority project to address demand for civil operation of UAS for commercial purposes.
Questions about the Section 333 process should be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.