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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage 199

Posted by timothy
from the only-criminals-will-have-commercial-drones dept.
mpicpp (3454017) writes For months, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has been investigating realtors who use drones to film their properties. Now, Forbes has learned that the FAA's investigations have succeeded in intimidating NRT —the nation's largest residential real estate brokerage company — into advising their members to not only cease flying drones as part of their work, but to also cease using drone footage. This is a troubling development in an ongoing saga over the FAA's rules which punish the safe commercial use of drones. Currently, the FAA does not prohibit the use of drones for a hobby — flying over your home and taking pictures of it for fun is allowed, but because real estate drones take pictures for a commercial purpose, the FAA prohibits their use.
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FAA Pressures Coldwell, Other Realtors To Stop Using Drone Footage

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  • Drone? It was a model airplane, a teleguided kiddie zeppelin, a weather balloon, a ...

    • ... camera strapped to a very long pole.

    • by westlake (615356)

      Drone? It was a model airplane, a teleguided kiddie zeppelin, a weather balloon, a ...

      If it is being used for commercial purposes, it is no longer a child's toy or an adult's R/C model aircraft.

      • I don't understand the commercial vs. private distinction here. Why is private drone US fine but commercial not?
      • Sigh.

        For about the sixth time, in only about two weeks, I am prompted to remind people of this:

        Just recently -- only a couple of months ago -- a Federal judge ruled that the FAA has no authority over small low-altitude drones or models, regardless of whether they are being used commercially.

        The ruling has been stayed pending appeal, but the judge ruled on the basis that it was never Congress' intent to give FAA authority to do this, and his argument was very strong.

        In the meantime, the FAA has s
        • Like all good bureaucrats, they're all about their power, and don't give a shit about the law, because they're above it.

          The NSA, the IRS, the EPA, the FDA, the FAA, all just spitting in our faces because they can, they know it, and they want to make sure that we do too.

          They are the Tax Ranchers, we are the Tax Cattle.

          Say it with me.

          "Moo".

  • Not a rule (Score:5, Insightful)

    by RogueWarrior65 (678876) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:28AM (#47437743)

    The FAA hasn't issued any "rule" only a policy guideline which is unenforceable. Most people don't know that and the FAA is counting on intimidation to do their dirty work for them.

    • This administration has had this same 'if you don't like it too bad' attitude since day 1.

      http://dailycaller.com/2014/06... [dailycaller.com]

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MatthiasF (1853064)
      FAA has no authority below the mandated altitudes for air travel. Property owners have air rights above their property up to the FAA's mandated altitudes or as locally mandated by code.

      So, the FAA should kindly go fuck itself. It does not tell us what we can do in the immediate vicinity around our homes or property.

      If I want to hire a drone to do a fly through of my home, or my realtor offers to do it themselves, I will do it and the feds can shove their rules as far up their ass as they please.
      • So, the FAA should kindly go fuck itself.

        Please don't say things like that. You might give them an idea (they won't think of them on their own). Godzilla was created under less extreme circumstances.

      • Re:Not a rule (Score:5, Informative)

        by slimjim8094 (941042) <slashdot3.justconnected@net> on Saturday July 12, 2014 @12:50PM (#47438365)

        FAA has no authority below the mandated altitudes for air travel.

        Wrong. FAA's authority applies to any flying vehicle in the airspace of this country. Don't believe me? Here's the quote from the law that established the FAA [gpo.gov]:

        The Administrator is authorized and directed to develop plans for and formulate policy with respect to the use of the navigable airspace; and assign by rule, regulation, or order the use of the navigable airspace under such terms, conditions, and limitations as he may deem necessary in order to insure the safety of aircraft and the efficient utilization of such airspace. He may modify or revoke such assignment when required in the public interest.

        Property owners have air rights above their property up to the FAA's mandated altitudes or as locally mandated by code.

        Nope. Another common misconception, but "he United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States." (source) [cornell.edu].

        Consider reading the Wikipedia page [wikipedia.org] for some interpretation. Basically the idea is that you have airspace rights to the extent that you can use the space to have useful stuff on it (i.e., you can't build a 600 foot pole just to keep planes away, it has to be for some useful purpose). It's not at all clear that using drones grants you these rights, since they're definitely more aircraft than building.

        So, the FAA should kindly go fuck itself. It does not tell us what we can do in the immediate vicinity around our homes or property.

        If I want to hire a drone to do a fly through of my home, or my realtor offers to do it themselves, I will do it and the feds can shove their rules as far up their ass as they please.

        Nobody's talking about flying a drone inside your house, they're talking about flying one over your house. You know, airspace. As far as thumbing your nose at the FAA - go nuts, but be prepared to win in court, suffer the consequences, or start a (successful) revolution. You could say the same thing about any other law or regulation - it's basically a question if whether you accept the rule of law or not.

        Just so we're all clear on the sequence of events: the law creates the FAA and says "you regulate our airspace". The FAA, in the course of performing its legal mandate, creates a number of regulations (such as how pilots and aircraft are certified, standards for airports and navigation, etc) through a process called "rulemaking". They also issue more specific interpretations of the rules they've already enacted. (None of this is unusual; all federal agencies work the same way.) One such opinion decides that drones are basically model aircraft and that's OK so long as they follow the rules - one of which is no commercial use. The court decided that an opinion wasn't good enough here, so the FAA is going through the rulemaking process like they're supposed to. The end result will not be "yeah do whatever the hell you want", it'll probably be "be a hobbyist model aircraft (and comply with the rules, including noncommercial use) or get certified like an aircraft/pilot".

        • Keyword is "navigable airspace" though. FAA has established authority over "navigable airspace" only which FAA itself defines as

          '"Navigable airspace" is airspace at or above the minimum altitudes of flight prescribed by the Code of Federal Regulations, and must include airspace needed to ensure safety in the takeoff and landing of aircraft.' https://www.faa.gov/air_traffi... [faa.gov]

          So what is the minimum altitude of flight? I would bet that it excludes the entire range where drones can fly as they can fly pretty da

          • by ctg77 (2037542)
            http://www.ecfr.gov/cgi-bin/te... [ecfr.gov] Quoting from there: 91.119 Minimum safe altitudes: General. Except when necessary for takeoff or landing, no person may operate an aircraft below the following altitudes: (a) Anywhere. An altitude allowing, if a power unit fails, an emergency landing without undue hazard to persons or property on the surface. (b) Over congested areas. Over any congested area of a city, town, or settlement, or over any open air assembly of persons, an altitude of 1,000 feet above the h
            • You're misreading the regulations. Over a sparsely populated area there is no altitude restriction, there's a distance to "person, vessel, vehicle, or structure" requirement. You can fly as low as you want over e.g., a cornfield (say, for crop dusting) or the desert or ocean so long as you don't compromise the "emergency landing without undue hazard" rule. I'd argue that it's not reasonable to expect everyone who buys a drone to become intimately familiar with 14 CFR 91's requirements, so some general rules

              • by sjames (1099)

                In a neighborhood where a realtor might use a drone to photograph the property, a manned plane would certainly violate the safe landing requirement anywhere near an altitude suitable to photograph the home.

            • by Fnord666 (889225)
              I wonder where crop dusting comes into play under these rules?
        • by Above (100351)

          Another reply has already pointed out the "navigable airspace" limitation. The specific FAA rule is FAR Part 91.119 Minimum Safe Altitudes [flightsimaviation.com]. Basically 500 feet everywhere, and 1,000 feet over "populated areas".

          Back in 1981 the FAA addressed RC operators with Advisory Circular 91-57 [faa.gov]. It requires RC operators stay under 400', remain in line of sight, and coordinate with an airport if they are within 3 miles of the airport (which is where planes may be under those minimums due to take offs and landings.

          This

          • Rather, the FAA is drawing a different line here.

            It's quite a bit worse because they aren't drawing a line. Is there any rule making that has completed that supports their commercial vs. non-commercial claims. And it's not clear that the FAA is enforcing any existing promulgated rule or regulation.

            Their actions against commercial drone operators just appear to be arbitrary.

    • Those policy guidelines say "we think we can enforce this rule in this way". They may be wrong, but you'd have to go to court to find out, because they intend to sue anyone who violates their interpretation.

      • They have already been slapped down by the courts over this once. I would be happy to slap them again.
        • Go nuts. Their policy notice (basically "we interpret the already-existing regulations in this way") was struck down as insufficiently supported, so they're going through the official rulemaking process to make an actual regulation out of it. I suggest you keep an eye on that (there is a public comment period), because that will not be struck down and I guarantee that getting hit with it will hurt. Oh, and it'll probably be something like "be a model aircraft (with all the restrictions, including noncommerc

        • by BitZtream (692029)

          Stop quoting that single court case bullshit. The case was dismissed because of an overly broad statement in the way the FAA filed it. The judge pretty much told them to narrow it down and I'll see you again in 3 months ... which it will go through. Guess what ... that very case is already back in the schedule to be retried.

          And for reference. There have been 2 cases dismissed. One was retried and found in favor of the FAA and the fine stood, the second is on the schedule for retrial.

  • by tgeller (10260) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:35AM (#47437767) Homepage
    From the post:

    "This is a troubling development in an ongoing saga over the FAA's rules which punish the safe commercial use of drones."

    Nope. It's a completely appropriate action according to the FAA's mandate and charter. It's their exact *job*.

    Whether it's an appropriate restriction is to be debated.
    • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:49AM (#47437825) Journal

      I am usually a pretty big skeptic when it comes to regulation but I gotta agree with you here.

      This seems like a federal agency operating well withing the boundaries of what it was established to do. I also think we do need some management of [commercial] drones, do to the sheer numbers and the fact that most operators are flying over other peoples properties, where crashes could cause damage or injury.

      People doing purely as a hobby problem I would be more skeptical of the need to regulate them. There numbers are few enough and lets be honest most of the air craft they would be operating will remain small and light; we can probably expect incidents form their use to be infrequent enough and small enough in severity to sort out in our local small claims courts at least until that proves not to be the case.

      The real-estate folks though are using the drones commercial and if we let every real-estate agent, grounds keep, delivery boy, paper boy, etc; fly a drone with no management whatsoever that is hell of lot of drones in air! Some of those crafts might start getting bigger and heavier pretty quickly as well.

      • So then we'll need a Drone License. And the police will as well, clearly. At least we'll have rules about what police drones are allowed to do.
        • by DarkOx (621550)

          No I think we should require a license if you are a commercial operator. If you are just flying for fun than you should not need a license. I don't think the number of aircraft that will be operated by pure hobbiests is going to be large enough to present a public nuisance.

          I do think the totality of drones in the air will. So licensing commercial operators makes sense. If you fly as a hobbyist and your drone crashes causing damage or injury its a civil matter between you and injured party. If you are a

    • by PPH (736903) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:52AM (#47437841)

      Nope. It's a completely appropriate action according to the FAA's mandate and charter. It's their exact *job*.

      Maybe. But then perhaps its time for Congress to rewrite the mandate and take the commercial/hobby distinction out.

      Leave them with the safety and certification roles. But the operation of drones needs to be consistent across all uses. Something isn't more or less safe if money changes hands. We (the USA) are going to be left behind as other jurisdictions allow commercial drone use, subject to rules compliance. Commercial use brings money into the industry, which pays for R&D and the refinement of safety rules. US manufacturers don't have the ability to participate in this, leaving the business to foreign concerns. That is definitely NOT the FAA's charter.

      • by tgeller (10260)
        "Something isn't more or less safe if money changes hands."

        No, but:

        a) Other factors come into play when money changes hands -- issues of liability, scale, entitlements, conversion of public benefits....

        b) Commercial exceptions are well-established in U.S. law.. If you want to argue they shouldn't be, you'll have to go back something like a hundred years. These restrictions have been very good for the country, though, so you'd have an uphill battle.
        • by PPH (736903) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @11:30AM (#47438021)

          Commercial exceptions are well-established in U.S. law.

          But this isn't a case of a commercial exception. Commercial aircraft operators are subject to far more stringent regulations than private/recreational*. And that's fine, particularly for passenger carriers. For the public on the ground, I want the regulations to treat commercial and private safety equally. I'm not going to be happier if some billionaire drops his personal 737 on my house than if it was Southwest Airlines. On the other hand, once a drone operator 'goes comercial', I would expect them to carry liability insurance and have deep pockets to protect. As a result, I'd be more comfortable with a business operated drone than a hobby flyer over my house.

          This is just like Uber and Lyft vs New York City. The entrenched cab interests have one way of doing things and they are using their regulatory agency to block new technology. The same appears to be happening for flight serice companies. Piloted aircraft for hire are having the FAA protect their turf.

          *The general aviation manufacturing business almost went under in this country until legislation was passed to limit their liability. That runs counter to the idea that there is an atmosphere of business exception in this country.

        • By very good you mean anyting labeled 'commercial' costs three times as much....yeah its been fucking great.
      • But the operation of drones needs to be consistent across all uses.

        Why? You go on to promote commercial drone use, so it seems unlikely that banning of hobby use would satisfy you.

        A distinction can be drawn and so there's no reason not to. Hobby use is likely to remain low, with a small number of people perhaps flying for an hour or two a week. Commercial use on the other hand is likely to be far more pervasive and intrusive. Better to assume they are not allowed and grant specific permissions for uses where the gain to society is seen to outweigh the costs.

      • by jfengel (409917)

        It's time for Congress to do a lot of things. But when was the last time Congress did anything at all? Has there been even a single non-trivial piece of legislation in the entire 113th? Was there any in the 112th?

        The bar to legislation is fairly high and there's always a large set of voters prepared to punish their legislators for allowing anything through that would be seen as a victory for the other side or even as a compromise with them, regardless of the issue. Those Congressmen have been trained in a P

    • by silfen (3720385) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @11:06AM (#47437895)

      The FAA was created to regulate passenger and air traffic, not to assert arbitrary authority over any airspace above our heads.

      And even with the massive mission creep, airplanes need to stay 1000ft above any buildings on private settled land. What you do below that on your land is your own business, and it should stay your own business.

      That means that if you want to shoot down low-flying Amazon delivery drones, you should be able to do that. Likewise, if you want to fly your own drone to take pictures of your own property, you should be able to do that too as long as you stay below 1000ft.

      And make no mistake, FAA's attempts to assert authority have nothing to do with safety. The motivating factor here is power and money. Ultimately, the FAA wants to assert rights over the non-aviation airspace over your property, something they never had any say about in the past. And the people benefiting from it won't be you, it will be a few wealthy corporations that will be flying low-flying drones through your backyard whether you want to or not.

      • The FAA was created to regulate passenger and air traffic

        Drones are air traffic.

        And make no mistake, FAA's attempts to assert authority have nothing to do with safety.

        For sure there's a safety angle to drone regulation. A toy drone probably weighs a few ounces, but commercial uses of drones will include much heavier vehicles. There's Amazon's plans, plus the existing illegal use by smugglers that show the way that's going to go.

        But there's also the intrusiveness aspect. Sunbathers may not want their gardens overflying, nobody wants a drone hovering outside their bedroom window.

        Drones are certainly not something that some be free from regulations.

        • by Rich0 (548339)

          What is the risk of a drone hovering 100 feet up taking photos of a house?

          Just have the FAA issue $50 ADS-B transponders which anybody can install on a drone or aircraft and that would probably do a lot more to promote collision avoidance than keeping people from taking pictures of their own houses.

          As far as heavy drones go - regulate them like baseballs hit into windows and such. You don't need a license to operate a baseball and yet we don't have them showering down on our cars all day long.

          • What is the risk of a drone hovering 100 feet up taking photos of a house?

            What's the risk of a box of electronics, possibly with cargo, falling out of the sky?

            Just have the FAA issue $50 ADS-B transponders

            Just? Will the system scale? And in what way will it stop faulty drones from falling out of the sky?

            As far as heavy drones go - regulate them like baseballs hit into windows and such. You don't need a license to operate a baseball and yet we don't have them showering down on our cars all day long.

            A drone carrying cargo is not like a baseball, and no amount of regulation will make it so.

            • by Rich0 (548339)

              As far as heavy drones go - regulate them like baseballs hit into windows and such. You don't need a license to operate a baseball and yet we don't have them showering down on our cars all day long.

              A drone carrying cargo is not like a baseball, and no amount of regulation will make it so.

              How do you figure. The damage from either is kinetic energy. Either can smash a window, distract a driver, and so on.

              • You forgot shape and materials.

                Is a dart and a block of polystyrene of the same weight equally dangerous?

                Do you think a car with a chassis is no more dangerous than a monocoque design with crumple zones?

                • by Rich0 (548339)

                  Sure, but a drone's shape and materials will probably be less likely to cause damage than a baseball or other more common object flying through the air (like a tree branch).

                  The drone is designed to fly - it is going to be light and flimsy.

      • That means that if you want to shoot down low-flying Amazon delivery drones, you should be able to do that

        Please run for Congress....

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        That means that if you want to shoot down low-flying Amazon delivery drones, you should be able to do that.

        Well, no. Not unless you can account for ballistics, and the drop zone for your projectiles. But perhaps you should be permitted to use a tethered net launcher.

        Likewise, if you want to fly your own drone to take pictures of your own property, you should be able to do that too as long as you stay below 1000ft.

        Or any public property. Whether the restrictions on line-of-sight are reasonable is a whole other discussion (my thought is "maybe") but public lands belong to all of us. As always, the thing must be operated in a manner which does not represent a realistic risk to others.

      • "The United States Government has exclusive sovereignty of airspace of the United States." And they've delegated the administration of it to the FAA. The only air rights you have over your property are those you can reasonably use in connection with the property, e.g. adding another storey to your house. It's not at all clear that drones are more "stuff related to your use of the property" than aircraft - that's the question, right? (IANAL)

        And it's 500 feet, unless you're in a "congested area" like a city (

      • by fnj (64210)

        Actually, sport aviation under ultralight rules does not have minimum altitude rules per se. And no, you are not allowed to shoot them down. Yes, they could get into trouble doing blatantly dangerous or intrusive things. And I believe they themselves would take umbrage if you operated your drones in any manner dangerous to them. They certainly have the law firmly on their side on that one.

    • I wasn't aware the FAA's mandate went down to 12' in residential areas.

      Cool.

    • by nbauman (624611)

      People do get killed by these things.

      http://www.nytimes.com/2013/09... [nytimes.com]

      http://www.nydailynews.com/new... [nydailynews.com]

  • I think it's time for Nibbles the Hamster to get a pilot's license and go to work for real estate. With him in the cockpit, it's no longer a drone, right? He will also get some mini pilot goggles, because it will look adorable and no judge would ever convict.
  • It is common for the the movie industry to shoot scenes from drones. So they can't do that anymore? I am sure however Hollywood can do what ever the want, for the are the golden lamb.
    • by DarkOx (621550)

      I know its a fun conspiracy theory and all but I don't think the double standard is deliberate, even if it does exist.

      The real-estate lobby is probably only slightly less powerful than the Hollywood lobby. I mean lets see:

      There are huge tax advantages for income properties, in terms of you can take losses against capital gains on them, but you can't on a property you used as a residence? Why?

      The mortgage interest tax deduction -- exists almost exclusively to increase borrowing power and willingness, which

      • I know its a fun conspiracy theory and all but I don't think the double standard is deliberate, even if it does exist.

        The only real double standard is that the government is rapidly advancing its UAV technology while keeping private industry from doing so. Notice how Greenpeace floated a blimp over the NSA data center? Good for publicity but not the most efficient way to gather the photos they did.

        Amazon shouldn't be calling them drones, though - drones kill Pakistani children, aerobots save puppies [newhavenindependent.org].

      • by vux984 (928602)

        There are huge tax advantages for income properties, in terms of you can take losses against capital gains on them, but you can't on a property you used as a residence? Why?

        "Under 26 U.S.C. 121 an individual can exclude, from his or her gross income, up to $250,000 ($500,000 for a married couple filing jointly) of capital gains on the sale of real property if the owner used it as primary residence for two of the five years before the date of sale."

        You can't claim take losses because you have this massive ex

    • by Shoten (260439)

      Actually, it's vastly more common to use a helicopter, though that is going to change soon...but in favor of much bigger drones than are used by realtors. My significant other is a producer of documentary content (which uses tons of aerial shots) and they follow a much more stringent process than any realtor does. There's insurance, for one thing, for every aerial shooting session. Insurance for liability, insurance for the aircraft, insurance for the camera (aircraft and camera almost never go together.

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        But it's a huge task just to put the shoot together; they don't just drive up with some kind of aircraft and start flying around.

        Because they are generally flying over property that they don't own.

        I'm willing to bet that an insurance company would laugh at me when I ask for insurance to protect my own home against what might happen if I crash a model airplane into it.

        • So... I uh, would tell you that from.. a friend's experience, yeah, that's it.. that a standard HO3 home-owners policy written by any major insurer should cover such damage after your deductible so long as you were not negligent.

          • by nabsltd (1313397)

            any major insurer should cover such damage after your deductible so long as you were not negligent.

            I suspect that "any major insurer" would consider the act of flying the drone "negligent".

    • It is common for the the movie industry to shoot scenes from drones.

      Your assertion doesn't appear to be true.

      http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/04/... [cnn.com]

      This is the way it SHOULD happen. An overall prohibition on drones then specific exceptions for uses where the benefits to society are seen to outweigh the costs.

      • by ScentCone (795499)

        This is the way it SHOULD happen. An overall prohibition on drones then specific exceptions for uses where the benefits to society are seen to outweigh the costs

        You have your entire concept of liberty, and of the constitution, exactly backwards.

        Should every new concept, innovation, invention, tool, technique, strategy, and technology be prohibited by default? What the hell is wrong with you? If I come up with a clever new way of slicing deli meat, should I be prohibited from using it or showing someone else how to use it until I've sufficiently begged an un-elected, un-accountable agency bureaucrat to allow me to use it?

        And in the case at hand, picture two p

        • Should every new concept, innovation, invention, tool, technique, strategy, and technology be prohibited by default? What the hell is wrong with you? If I come up with a clever new way of slicing deli meat, should I be prohibited from using it or showing someone else how to use it until I've sufficiently begged an un-elected, un-accountable agency bureaucrat to allow me to use it?

          BasilBrush is known in Android vs. iOS articles for claiming that every application should be approved by "an un-elected, un-accountable agency" by the name of Apple to make sure it isn't malware, doesn't waste battery charge or data transfer allowance, and doesn't let the user help contribute to a crowd-sourced database of Wi-Fi hotspots.

      • Thats not Liberty at all.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 12, 2014 @10:55AM (#47437857)

    In the FAA Modernization And Reform Act of 2012 [gpo.gov] congress required the following:

    SEC. 332.
    (a)(4) REPORT TO CONGRESS .—Not later than 1 year after the
    date of enactment of this Act, the Secretary shall submit to Con-
    gress a copy of the plan required under paragraph (1). ...
    (b) RULEMAKING .—Not later than 18 months after the date on
    which the plan required under subsection (a)(1) is submitted to Con-
    gress under subsection (a)(4), the Secretary shall publish in the Fed-
    eral Register—
    (1) a final rule on small unmanned aircraft systems that
    will allow for civil operation of such systems in the national
    airspace system, to the extent the systems do not meet the re-
    quirements for expedited operational authorization under sec-
    tion 333 of this Act;

    This law was passed on 1 Feb 2012. I don't know the exact date that the FAA made their report to congress, but even assuming that they waited till the last possible day, that would mean their final rule on small unmanned aircraft is due on 1 Aug 2014. Banning commercial use of small unnmanned aircraft is not "allowing for civil operation of such systems", so the FAA either is or soon will be operating in direct contradiction to the law passed by congress.

    Worse, the rules and guidelines that they have created didn't follow the required process for creating new regulations, in particular they were effected without any public comment period, something a judge already slapped them down for. Come 1 Aug the FAA can claim small commercial drone use is illegal all they want, but the courts aren't going to back them up.

    • thanks for that information. I have not seen this yet. Wish i had mod points
    • by ScentCone (795499)

      so the FAA either is or soon will be operating in direct contradiction to the law passed by congress

      Why should the FAA, which is part of the Obama administration, feel any urge whatsoever to enforce or obey laws passed by congress? We have ample precedent of him using the pen and phone about which he so regularly boasts to simply do what he wants anyway, even in direct contradiction of plain language in the laws he swore to uphold. Any expectation that the chief executive of the administration will be asking his immediate (appointed, by him) subordinate (the Secretary of Transportation) to instruct HIS s

      • The administration takes laws (like their own favorite, the ACA), and completely ignores hard-wired dates and other requirements as it suits them for political leverage with the portion of the voters to whom they pander. Happily, that particular instance is about to be challenged in a civil suit coming out of congress - that's very good news.

        This is not exactly true, but the spirit is right.

        Any administration has two prerogatives that they exercise:

        1. Upholding and enforcing the laws, "faithfully". This

  • by Shoten (260439) on Saturday July 12, 2014 @11:11AM (#47437921)

    It seems to me that "Safe" requires "Consistent." Otherwise, it's just "theoretically safe," not actually safe. And having just been through a house-buying process, I gotta tell you...I wouldn't entrust all the realtors with the safety of airspace. Especially since they seem to have no real guidance given to them on what "safe" commercial use of a drone actually entails.

  • by rossdee (243626)

    Renax is OK then - they use hot air baloons

  • The FEDERAL Aviation Authority has any Constitutional basis for telling people they can't fly a drone around a house that doesn't cross state lines?

    • by ScentCone (795499)
      Because the FAA, by federal statute (passed by congress, which is made up of representatives of all of the states), is granted that regulatory authority. There is legal precedence for their authority over everything that flies in the air, right down to an inch above the ground. Which doesn't mean that their position on this stuff isn't incredibly absurd. But it's their turf.
    • Because you compete with hypothetical professional drone pilots who cross state lines to photograph real estate. Competition with hypothetical interstate commerce is interstate commerce per Wickard v. Filburn and Gonzales v. Raich.
  • The FAA is about to outlaw flying within 5 miles of an airport (up from 3 miles) and above 400ft, and all commercial uses.

    Tell them what you think...

    http://www.regulations.gov/#!d... [regulations.gov]

    You have until 7/25...
  • I have a friend that immigrated from Europe. He wanted to start a business and realized that businesses do not comply with numerous laws so he actually asked the clerks in the court house which laws it was customary to ignore. They replied that they could not tell him which laws he could break and that he had to figure that out for himself. People will use drones with or without the blessing of governmental agencies. Even police departments might be seen as commercial in nature as much o
  • ...This is a troubling development in an ongoing saga over the FAA's rules which punish the safe commercial use of drones....

    I thinking this is a good development in the safe commercial use of drones.

    How do you know that all those real estate agents are using the drones safely? That's the problem the FAA is trying to address, the safety of all those things flying in the air. What if a real estate agent's drone crashes into a neighbor's house and hurts someone? How do you know that the real estate agent really knows how to fly one of the drones, or whether that agent recently saw one being used on youtube and thinks that he/

    • Not everything has to be a Federal matter.

    • by ScentCone (795499)

      How do you know that all those real estate agents are using the drones safely?

      Never mind the tiny number of people shooting a few real estate stills from treetop level. How do you know that the many, many thousands of people who are flying around for fun are being safe? But the FAA (so far) is honoring congress's mandate that hobbyists be left alone, even though they just said that hobbyists flying FPV style are no longer allowed. Regardless, the hobby drone market has hundreds of thousands of customers. There might be a few hundred people shooting real estate. Can you explain why y

  • I doubt there are any safe uses for a drone. Do we really want a remotely controlled small aircraft flying around our homes and communities?
    • by ScentCone (795499)

      I doubt there are any safe uses for a drone. Do we really want a remotely controlled small aircraft flying around our homes and communities?

      You're right. You're definitely on to something there. And while we're making sure that a professional real estate photographer with his reputation on the line is not to be trusted with a three and a half pound quadcopter, we should be even MORE restrictive of the OTHER dangerous stuff that's moving around our homes and communities. Like, pre-occupied 19 year olds driving cars. Like large dogs on cheap leashes. Like idiots on mountain bikes hopping curbs and cutting through read lights. Definitely start wi

  • NRT, the parent company doesn't procure the footage in the first place. The individual agents do. They don't process it either; I'm not sure what that's all about. They didn't tell the local operating companies they'd be penalized by NRT for using drone footage, they just said of the operating companies "they may be held responsible for all fines, penalties, costs and fees related to the use of that photography". NRT just wants to be on the record as saying they don't encourage use of drones for real es

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've been in the drone commercial, not military, business for quite some time and I find it funny about all the comments and arguments on what is right.

    Just today as well Forbes lists that the FAA's RFC shows about 3200 comments, mine included. That's not the millions, nor tens of thousands of DJI Phantom users out there... in the US.

    So, let's clarify what the heck is going on, cause sure drones are regulated in other countries, those gov't, businesses, and even users are watching the FAA closely. Why? Caus

  • After all, everyone knows that drones are intended exclusively for performing targetted assassinations, not potentially beneficial, civilian applications like advertising.

    What on Earth were those real estate people thinking?

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

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