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Federal ban on drones doesn’t stop photography


WASHINGTON – Jan. 22, 2014 – Although there is a federal ban on the commercial use of drones, real estate photographers are still using the radio-controlled helicopters to take aerial photos and videos that show the proximity of properties to neighbors, landmarks and amenities.

Kevin Crosse of Arizona Imaging, which launched in 2001, says that real estate photography is becoming a critical component of home marketing – especially at the high end – because nine out of 10 buyers begin their house hunt online.

However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which plans to issue rules for drones this year, does not allow users of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) to sell the video, use it to promote a business or accept payment from another party to shoot videos – but drone owners are allowed to mount cameras and shoot video for their personal use.

Luke Pierzina of Aerial Raiders, who uses a drone to shoot real estate photos, says, “Technically, I can’t charge for any of the flying. I charge for editing.”

While they wait for the FAA to issue rules, real estate photographers and UAV users are keeping a close eye on a lawsuit involving aerial photographer Raphael Pirker, who is challenging the FAA’s jurisdiction in levying a $10,000 fine for photos shot with a UAV at the University of Virginia in 2011.

Source: Arizona Republic (01/21/14) Corbett, Peter

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