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Drone Aerial Video For Real Estate & the FAA, Let's Sort Out the Details

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If you are a Realtor and haven't seen one of the videos by now, you might be hiding under a rock, but the rest of you know that aerial video for real estate is all the rage now (especially in expensive markets).


The question is, "Is it legal"? 


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) says a resounding NO!


In a nutshell, the link above (and corresponding documentation) says that the FAA says you can fly a "Drone" as a hobbyist as long as you are:


·         More than 5 miles from an airport

·         Stay Under 400 Feet

·         Fly Line of Sight

·         Do not fly in an unsafe manner

·         Do Not fly over heavily Populated Areas

  • Do NOT Fly for Commercial Purposes


An NTSB judge in the ruling of FAA vs Pirkler says YES 

In a nutshell, the link above  says, "Nuh-uh, FAA". 


It's no wonder that 100's (if not 1000's) of Realtors have either bought their own, or hired someone to shoot aerial real estate footage for them. 


What's happened lately could be a game changer as in this article: 



Here's the interesting part:

 “…While the use of drones for commercial purposes is prohibited by the FAA, the use of images or video from drones is not prohibited by the agency which only has jurisdiction over air space, not over the use of footage…”   


So, what to do?  


If you choose to do aerial video, PLEASE don't be a complete idiot like:


These idiots -- Cool footage, of course!  BUT these Morons put 100's of people in danger flying over people, busy intersections, and buildings.  It's people like this that will kill someone some day, and make flying drones illegal for everyone. 


There are 100's of videos on YouTube depicting unsafe flying.  I'm surprised someone already hasn't been killed.  Then there is the whole privacy issue.  That's a whole 'nother blog post.  My position is that bad people are going to do bad things regardless of what the law is.  A law prohibiting drone use will just make it illegal for law abiding citizens and do nothing to dissuade perverts and terrorists.   

Oh, and about that word, DRONE.  Here's a take on that, "Quit calling them drones" 


As for me, I have never charged anyone for aerial video, but here's one i shot at the beach totally as a hobbyist.  It shows what's possible with aerial video (best if viewed in HD):



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Troy Erickson AZ Realtor (602) 295-6807
HomeSmart - Chandler, AZ
Your Chandler, Ahwatukee, and East Valley Realtor

Steve, it will be interesting as more drones are used in real estate, how laws will be implemented moving forward.

Nov 12, 2014 02:33 AM
Michael Dagner
Brokers Guild Classic - Denver, CO
Your Denver Homes Realty Expert

Steve, good information!  Very nice video.  Aerial videos seem to have unlimited possibilities for many types of property.  

Nov 12, 2014 01:06 PM