|Foster City overhead shot by Open Homes Photography|
real estate photographers typically use small remote-control quadcopters (a helicopter with four rotors) with a camera - usually a GoPro - that takes stills and video.Drone photographs are very affordable, especially when million-dollar properties are involved: Open Homes Photography "charges $225 for 1 to 10 still photos, $375 for a one- to two-minute video, or $525 for stills and videos combined."
The ointment on the fliers is the lack of rules [bold added].
The FAA lets hobbyists fly what it calls unmanned aerial systems for recreational purposes, but it bans their use for commercial purposes unless it grants an exception, which it has done only once.Obviously, small drone operators meet none of the FAA's three requirements, but an NTSB administrative law judge has ruled "the FAA has no authority to impose or enforce regulations on small drones."
"You need three things for a commercial operation: a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot and authorization from the FAA," says Les Dorr, a spokesman for the FAA.
Look for abuses and accidents to occur as drones multiply. Confusion may lessen when the FAA promulgates rules in 2015, but the history of government regulation of rapidly changing industries does not augur well. © 2014 Stephen Yuen