Several Readers pointed out the Dec 23rd article in on NYTimes.com. I think this is a noteworthy article for several reasons:
- It's focus is specifically on shooting real estate with small UAVs. There are lots of articles on drones in general, this is one of the few that is reporting specifically on UAV use in shooting real estate in the US. It points out that many real estate broker are involved in use of small UAVs for marketing listings... yes, we've seen that from the videos that I've featured here on PFRE.
- Most real estate videographers in the US are using UAVs but not talking about it publically. However, Matthew Leone, Director of web marketing at Halstead Property is on-camera on the front page of NYTimes.com promoting Halstead Property's use of drone videography in marketing multi-million dollar homes. He doesn't seem concerned by being shutdown by the FAA. He apparently thinks he's operating with in the law.
- Leone and others interviewed in this article appear to be claiming that as long as they say below 400 feet and only fly over private property that they are following FAA guidelines. Where did they come up with this idea? As I read the FAA guide lines it has nothing to do with operating over private property.
- The FAA was specifically asked to comment on the NYTimes.com article, and the FAA response was: "...an F.A.A. spokesman said that the model airplane guidelines did not apply to commercial drones and that drone operators needed special approval from the agency. The spokesman added that no real estate agency had been granted permission."
One can only infer from all this that no one in the real estate industry is paying much attention to the FAA guidelines about flying commercial UAVs and the FAA is effectively not paying any attention to the fact that hundreds and thousands of people are ignoring the FAA's guidelines. So far only Trappy has been busted, and it's not clear to whether he was fined for being reckless or because he was flying for hire, or perhaps both.