You finally bought that shiny new camera-equipped drone this holiday season.Drones offer significant competitive advantages in aerial real estate photography & advertising that bring your customer’s home search to new heights; but, did you know that you’re about to become a pilot and part of the United States aviation system? By law, your drone is an aircraft and subject to strict federal registration, operation and safety requirements. Below is information to ensure you are flying safely in 2016.
What Is A Drone?
A drone, or “unmanned aircraft system” (“UAS”) as referred to by the Federal Aviation Administration (“FAA”), is an unmanned aircraft and all associated elements that are required for the pilot to operate safely and efficiently in the national airspace system.  Drones come in a variety of shapes and sizes and serve diverse purposes. Drone flights are generally short in duration and flown at low altitudes to gather information related to a specific property or location.
May I use a drone in my real estate business?
The FAA considers using drones to take photos for your listing to be more than just a hobby. In fact, using drones for professional real estate purposes is classified as a commercial or business use by the FAA and the FAA currently regulates drone operations for commercial purposes. This means that REALTORS® using drones in their real estate business are subject to regulation by the FAA and may not fly a drone for commercial purposes without express permission from the FAA. The FAA issues Certificates of Waiver or Authorization (“COA”) to select commercial or business drone operators, allowing them to legally operate on a case-by-case basis under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012. All exemptions granted under Section 333 are issued with strict conditions and specific limitations with which the drone operator must comply.