Using Drones for Real Estate view is still illegal according to FAA

Picture from

For those of you that are not aware of the news regarding Drones and its usage. The Federal Administration of Aviation or FAA clearly states that the use of Drone aircraft that are not for recreational use is illegal.



The genesis of this rule stems from the FAA’s first findings in 1981:

“Model aircraft can at times pose a hazard to full-scale aircraft in flight and to persons and property on the surface.”  Federal Administration of Aviation

To mitigate these safety risks, the FAA produced operating standards for all controlled drone devices.

1) All drone aircrafts are restricted to operate on populated areas

2) Limitations on the operations of these devices are imposed, until these devices have been proven airworthy and has been flight tested for safety.

3) These devices are restricted to operate 400 feet above the surface.

4) These devices must give right of way to, and also avoid flying near manned aircraft.

5) Must have an assistant when the aircraft is in operation


The FAA then, explicitly  listed conditions upon which drone aircrafts must fall within.  The FAA will allow operations of these controlled drones if they meet all the criteria below:

  • the aircraft is flown strictly for hobby or recreational use
  • the aircraft is operated in accordance with a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization
  • the aircraft is limited  to not more than 55 pounds, unless otherwise certified through a design, construction, inspection, flight test, and operational safety program that is administered by a community-based organization
  • the aircraft is operated in a manner that does not interfere with any manned aircraft
  • when flown within 5 miles of an airport, the operator of the controlled aircraft must provide the airport operator and the airport air traffic control tower, prior notice of the aircraft’s operation.
Picture from: Santa Fe Real Estate Agent Using Drones

The FAA is aware that more and more real estate professionals are using drones to take aerial pictures & videos of their properties, and the FAA wants to stress out the fact that any aircraft flown from the ground up is within their ruling, and must follow all applicable rules that the FAA enforced in order to ensure the safety of the public, and other manned, or unmanned aircrafts.


At the moment, the FAA has no means of finding out organizations that are in violation of their statutes and regulations. If they do find enough evidence through the Internet: social media; videos; websites; people’s complaints; or even a suspect receipt from a distributor; then the FAA is within its power to enforce or act upon such violations.


The FAA released a Myth vs. Fast document, further elaborating on this issue. 


Where  do you stand on this issue? Do you think the FAA should allow for the commercial use of these drones?

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