If You Don’t Charge For Real Estate UAV Videography Will The FAA Consider You Commercial?

CTpostI’ve been thinking recently that it would be nice to get a statement from the FAA about their attitude about enforcement of their “no commercial UAVs” rule since they seem to be very inconsistent about enforcement of the rule, there is a huge increase in UAVs, and it’s going to be a year or more before the FAA is going finish their UAV regulations.

It turns out that we got exactly that. The Connecticut Post has an article about a local Realtor that does real estate marketing videography and photography with his UAV (Thanks to Dave Williamson in Perth, AU for pointing out this article). The CT Post got the following statements from the FAA:

  1. FAA spokesman Les Dorr said Tuesday that agency regulations prohibit commercial operations of unmanned aircraft. ”If it’s a commercial operation, we want you to stop,” Dorr said, adding that because of the proliferation of inexpensive remotely controlled aircraft (commonly called UAVs) it is difficult for the agency to control their use. “We don’t have the resources to go out and look for people doing this commercially.
  2. If the commercial operators are located, the FAA orders them to stop using the devices. ”Normally they agree to stop. We only pursue a civil penalty if they were operating in a careless and reckless manner that would endanger people or aircraft,” Dorr said.

The other significant thing about the ctpost.com article is that Mark Pires the Realtor that’s doing the UAV flying argues that he is not commercial because he offers his UAV marketing for free. This is exactly the strategy that “The Cooler” suggested on our original post about the FAA shutting down commercial UAVs. The Cooler’s comment was:

There is an easy way around all this (no commercial UAV operation) – don’t charge for the aerial shots.

AJ Hackett, the king of Bungee jumping, for a time was unable to charge for Bungee jumps due to government regulations – so he offered free bungee jumps to everyone – catch was the person needed to buy an AJ Hackett Bungee Jump t-shirt – no t-shirt – no jump. The master stroke was that the t-shirts cost $120

read between the lines folks and the answer is there…

Thanks to the CT Post, the FAA apparently knows about Mark Pires’s free UAV marketing so if we stay in contact with Mark to see if the FAA busts him, we’ll find out if Mark’s strategy works.

Source Article from http://photographyforrealestate.net/2013/09/16/if-you-dont-charge-for-real-estate-uav-videography-will-the-faa-consider-you-commercial/