FAA Says Later This Year Commercial Drone Laws For Small Drones Will Be Released For Public Comment

May 30th, 2013

I know there is a bunch of you out there waiting to hear about news on when it’s going to be legal to fly Drones to photograph real estate. As this article suggests, there’s plenty of demand for video from real estate drones. For that reason I wanted to pass on an article by Paul Hagey in Inman News a couple of weeks ago that has what appears to some updated information. The two most significant statements by a FAA spokesman items are:

  1. “Right now, operating UAVs commercially is against FAA rules, said Les Dorr, a spokesman for the agency. If the FAA learns of a commercial drone operation, it sends out an inspector to explain the rules and considers shutting it down if the drones are operated in a risky, reckless manner”. 
  2. “Later this year Dorr said the FAA will release proposed rules for the commercial operation of drones that weigh less than 55 pounds. After a round of public comments and a final draft, the rules will allow drones to fly free and clear into real estate”.

Number 1 above gives some insight into how the FAA is currently operating. Even though they have shutdown at least 3 commercial drone operators in the last couple of years, but there have got to be hundreds more real estate drones all over the US still operating. Why haven’t they gone after everyone. Probably because they just have very limited resources and are only dealing with significant complaints or very visible operators. And if someone chose to litigate the issue the FAA would probably loose.

Number 2 above suggests the time line for rules for drones under 55 lbs. They will probably release draft rules and then accept public comment for a few months before finalizing the rules. The FAA Reauthorization Bill signed by Obama last Feb sets the target for having rules for ALL UAS (Unmanned Aerial Systems… Drones) as Sept 30, 2015, but it appears that rules for UASs under 55 lbs may well be in place much sooner- perhaps by the end of this year or early next.

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3 Responses to “FAA Says Later This Year Commercial Drone Laws For Small Drones Will Be Released For Public Comment”

  • thanks for this update. Looks like the DJI phantom and the gopro 3 is accelerating the number of people trying to get into aerial photography. I just read that it weighs 8 lbs, that is really heavy. My 650 hex weighs 5 lbs and would be in the range of 8 lbs with a dslr so having reasonable restrictions for any craft under 10 lbs would be more than enough for most real estate work.
    I have plans to shave about 1 pound off the hex and probably use a EOS-SL1 to keep it as light as possible.

  • I get the whole advantage of using a drone for real estate, however, I take issue w/ the eventual (not if, when) abuse and invasion of privacy we will all be dealing w/ in the near future.

  • keyword: “commercial”. make regular photos and “offer” aerial ones. fixed.

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