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FAA eases rules on drone use, creating more opportunities for real estate marketing

By Mike Wheatley | June 8, 2021

Some tech-savvy real estate agents have already been using drones to create aerial videos and photos that enhance their listings. Now, their use could be expanded by new Federal Aviation Administration rules, the National Association of Realtors reported last week.

The FAA has eased some restrictions on drone use while expanding other rules. For example, it has now authorized drone operations at night and also allowed drones to fly over people and moving vehicles, Realtor Mag reported.

The NAR’s video “Window to the Law” explains more about how the new rules could expand the use of drones by real estate agents. For example, the new Remote Identification Rule, which comes into effect on September 15, will make it legal to conduct drone operations above people for the first time. That will make it possible to create aerial videos of homes in busy areas, such as urban condos for example.

Drones that fly over people will have to transmit identifying information about the drone and its operator. This information would be accessible by law enforcement agencies to help them identify any unsafe flying operations. Newer drones will have remote identification broadcast functionality built into them, while older drones will need to install the capability to fly over people legally.

A second new rule that went into affect on March 16 allows drone flying operations at night, which could open up the possibility of creating more enchanting aerial images of a home in twilight. To fly at night, certified drone pilots will need to complete an updated initial test or updated recurrent online training regimen to qualify. The drone must also be equipped with flashing anti-collision lights.

Katie Garrity, associate counsel at NAR, said in the video that these are “exciting changes” that will create more opportunities for drones to create innovative and impactful marketing. “But it’s important you are familiar with the FAA’s rules, as well as any state or local laws that may impact your operation,” she said.

Existing requirements stipulate that anyone flying a drone must have a license to do so and also be ready to show it upon request by law enforcement officers. The FAA’s rules, which were first published in 2016, also have limitations on drones’ speed and weight. In addition, drones are restricted to flying at certain altitudes.

Real estate agents who wish to create aerial photos using a drone are advised to obtain a license and insurance, or failing that, hire a qualified drone operator that has both an up to date certificate and insurance coverage.

Mike Wheatley is the senior editor at Realty Biz News. Got a real estate related news article you wish to share, contact Mike at [email protected].
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