Realtors Need Licenses And Certifications – Drone Pilots Do Too

Drones are becoming more commonplace with each year.  Just a few short years ago there were very few drones in the sky.  Today that’s changed quite a bit.  So many drones have been sold in recent years, and most drone operators are hobbyists.

In order to perform commercial work, drone operators must pass the FAA’s Part 107 exam and receive a 2 year certificate.  At the end of the two years drone pilots must re-certify with the FAA.  In a few months I’ll be doing my own re-certification.

For drone enthusiasts who do not take and pass the Part 107 exam, they can still fly their drones and enjoy the hobby.  But they cannot perform commercial work of any kind.  If their drone flights are used for “the furtherance of a business,” in any way, shape, or form, they require the Part 107 Certification.  It’s similar for Realtors.

Realtors need licenses

If you’re in Real Estate, you already know that the headline above is correct.  You need to be a licensed realtor in order to conduct business.  It’s been that way for quite some time now.  And people operating outside the boundaries of the rules are frowned upon and reported immediately.  Doing real estate without a license is a complete No No.

What’s funny about people in general is that they often think, “That doesn’t apply to me.”  Over the course of the past few years I’ve met many other drone operators.  And a few of those operators that I’ve met are also Realtors.  Actually 3 to be exact.  And here’s what’s very interesting.  All 3 of the realtors I’ve spoken with have admitted to using their drones in their real estate business endeavors.  The excuses are pretty run of the mill…. “I only use the drone for the properties I’m listing……”  That’s the general gist of it.

For those in an industry who understand the value of certification and licensing in order to do business, I found the 3 realtors lack of respect for the rules in other industries a little disheartening.  No way would I ever try to sell real estate without a license.  With that in mind, there’s no way I’d operate a drone commercially without a Part 107 certification.  Or for that matter, without being incorporated and insured as well.

The rules are changing further

Only a few short weeks ago the FAA issued some additional rules regarding drone operation for hobbyists.  Basically, for operators who are hobbyists, flying in controlled airspace is not an option.  In the case of the Prescott Arizona area that’s a pretty hard hit for drone enthusiasts who are not Part 107 certified.  A fair bit of the Prescott area is in controlled airspace.  And for the hobbyists in the area their locations to fly are fairly limited.

The grid pattern depicts the controlled airspace in the Prescott area. The numbers in the blocks denote the maximum height above ground a Part 107 Pilot is allowed to fly with the appropriate waiver or LAANC approval.

Within 5 miles of KPRC Airport (Love Field) hobbyists can no longer fly.  It’s that simple for the moment until the FAA comes up with more tools for hobbyists to use.  What’s interesting about the latest for hobbyists is the fact that a lot of the new home construction in the Prescott area happens to be within controlled airspace as well.  Not only should a hobbyist not be doing commercial activity, but now the controlled airspace is simply off limits to them as well.

What this means to realtors is quite simple.  Working with a drone pilot who has their Part 107 Certification, Insurance, and actual business, is in their best interest even more than ever.  Saying “I didn’t know” isn’t good enough these days.  And with future regulations and rule changes, wouldn’t you rather entrust your real estate aerial imaging to someone who is keeping up with the latest requirements to operate in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) arena?

This new home construction is within controlled airspace. If drone imaging is used to track the development of these new homes, or used to help sell the homes, the work needs to be performed by a Part 107 Certified drone operator

 

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