- The FAA no longer requires Section 333 waivers for drones weighing less than 55 lbs.
- Flight in the airspace classified G does not require clearance from local air traffic control.
- Drone pilot must be at least 16 years old and pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
Not sure whether, where and how you can use a drone for real estate photography?
Some gray area of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) regulation has been cleared up thanks to Part 107 of the Federal Aviation Regulations.
The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced today that it will no longer require a Section 333 waiver — making it much easier for real estate agents to legally fly drones.
The Section 333 waiver was a bottleneck of commercial applications on the FAA website, many of which were targeted toward real estate professionals and production companies working with real estate agents. (The online portal for Section 333 waivers has been shut down on the FAA website.)
The new rules take effect August 2016
The last time the FAA issued new regulation on UAVs was in December, although the rules took effect this past March. Many of the same rules still apply, although the biggest one is regarding the non-requirement of a section 333 waiver.
To operate your drone, you must obtain a remote pilot airman certificate with a small UAS rating. There are two ways to do this.
- You may pass an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge testing center.
- If you already have a Part 61 pilot certificate, other than a student pilot certificate, you must have completed a flight review in the previous 24 months, and you must take a small UAS online training course provided by the FAA.
Drones and the NAR
The first line in Part 107 (after the rule determining 55 lbs. weight max) relates to the visual line of sight (VLOS): The remote pilot in command and drone operator must maintain VLOS. It is required to have a “spotter,” and this rule states that the two people in control of the drone must be able to see it.
Late last year, NAR wrote a letter to Michael Huerta, FAA administrator, requesting a change in the VLOS at it relates to “unusually sized buildings and rural properties.
A source with NAR said that ever since the FAA called out Realtors directly in 2014 regarding drone use, the association has been actively working out how it can help agents who are utilizing aerial photography.
“We’ve worked hard to strike a responsible balance that protects the safety and privacy of individuals, while also ensuring Realtors can put drones to good use,” said Tom Salomone, broker-owner of Real Estate II Inc. in Coral Springs, Florida., and president of NAR, in a press release.
Specifically, the NAR wants to focus on the category of drones known as micro UAVs. These are drones weighing less than 4 lbs. and, according to the NAR, do not pose the same threat to the safety of the general public as those classified under small UAV.
“Getting here wasn’t easy, and the FAA is to be commended for listening to the concerns of real estate professionals throughout the rule-making process,” Salomone said. “We’re entering a new stage of drone use in real estate, and no doubt there will be additional questions and challenges ahead. NAR will continue educating its members on issues important to the safe, responsible use of drones so they can grow their business and better serve their clients.”
New rules about UAV flying
Operations in Class G airspace are allowed without air traffic control permission. Read more about airspace and the regulations for each in the pilot’s handbook.
- You still may not fly your UAV above 400 feet in relation to ground level.
- If you are operating your drone above 400 feet, you must remain within 400 feet of a structure.
- The UAV must not exceed 100 miles per hour in airspeed.
- You must be 16 years of age to operate a drone remotely.
Another change is the inability to fly over groups of people “that are not participating in the operation” outside, within a structure or in a stationary vehicle.
There have also been changes to the use of drones as applies to delivery services.
Drones may transport property for compensation as long as they remain in the VLOS of the pilot in command, and they cannot be operated from a moving vehicle.