FAA Issues New Regulations on Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) just made it harder for real estate professionals to use drones when buying or selling property.

Set to take effect this August, FAA’s new rule requires real estate professionals and other business professionals to obtain a special license to operate an unmanned aerial system (UAS). Real estate professionals will have to pay about a $150 fee, pass an “aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved knowledge test center”, and pass a background check performed by the TSA.

Once a real estate professional passes all of these requirements, they must obey over 20 various “operational limitations” when operating the UAS. This includes keeping the drone under 400 feet, flying under 100 MPH, only flying during daylight, establishing a direct line-of-sight, not flying directly over people or near stadiums, among others. Any unregistered drone owner operating a craft that weighs more than 0.55 pounds is committing a federal felony punishable by up to three years’ imprisonment and $277,500 in civil and criminal fines.

Existing federal and state laws could adequately address the threat imposed by drones on people, property, and privacy without additional FAA regulation. Unfortunately for real estate professionals, the FAA insists on playing the role of mom and dad.

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