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Drone Use May Be on the Rise

Aerial photography is becoming more common in real estate listings – even for interior shots – and new FAA rules may allow drone use in even more locations.

WASHINGTON – Real estate pros increasingly use drones to capture aerial photos and videos of their listings or even the interiors – and new Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules may allow even more use going forward.

The FAA recently eased some restrictions and expanded some drone rules by authorizing operations at night, as well as over people and moving vehicles. A new Window to the Law video – produced by the National Association of Realtors®’ (NAR) legal team – shares how this could expand drone use among real estate professionals. NAR also hosts a reference page on drone use.

Note, however: The timelines vary as to when some of the new rules take effect.

For example, FAA’s new Remote Identification Rule will not go into effect until Sept. 15, 2023, allowing drone operations over people. It requires drones to transmit identifying information about the drone and its operator that would be accessible by law enforcement agencies to identify unsafe operations. To accomplish this, many newer drones will have a built-in remote identification broadcast function.

FAA’s Operations Over People and at Night Rule, which already took effect March 16, may allow real estate pros to capture aerial twilight photos and videos of their listings. Certified drone pilots who have completed an updated initial test or an updated recurrent online training regimen will now be able to fly drones at night. To be eligible, a drone must include flashing anti-collision lights.

“These are exciting changes that generate more opportunities for drones to create impactful and creative marketing, but it’s important that you are familiar with the FAA’s rules, as well as any state or local laws that may impact your operation before your next drone operation,” says Katie Garrity, associate counsel at NAR.

Drone operators must have a pilot certification and be prepared to show it upon request. Also, FAA rules from 2016 created rules and limitations on drone operations, including weight, altitude and speed limits.

Real estate pros who hire a drone operator to capture photos or videos of their listings should ensure the company has insurance coverage and the flyer has a current and up-to-date pilot certificate.

Source: National Association of Realtors® (NAR)

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