An Unmanned Aircraft System, most commonly referred to as a "Drone", is an unmanned aircraft and the equipment necessary for the safe and efficient operation of that aircraft. An unmanned aircraft is a component of a UAS. It is defined by statute as an aircraft that is operated without the possibility of direct human intervention from within or on the aircraft (Public Law 112-95, Section 331(8)).
Drone flights are typically short in duration and flown at low altitudes in order to gather only the desired images or information related to a specific property or location. Most drones fall into what is referred to as the micro UAS category, which means the UAS weighs 4.4 pounds or less. Drone operations are typically brief and more affordable than manned aircraft operations, which make UAS well-suited for use by the real estate industry.
There are two ways for recreational or hobby UAS fliers to operate in the National Airspace System in accordance with the law and/or FAA regulations. Each of the two options has specific requirements that the UAS operator must follow. The decision as to which option to follow is up to the individual operator.
Option #1. Fly in accordance with the Special Rule for Model Aircraft (Public Law 112-95 Section 336). Under this rule, operators must:
Option #2. Fly in accordance with the FAA's Small UAS Rule (Part 107). This requires operators to:
The FAA has developed a mobile app called B4UFLY to help recreational UAS operators know whether there are any restrictions or requirements where they want to fly. Additional guidance is also available in the "Where to Fly" section of the FAA website.
No. Federal law restricts UAS from flying at or below 3,000 AGL within a 3 nautical mile radius of any stadium with a seating capacity of 30,000 or more people during a Major League Baseball (MLB), regular or post-season National Football League (NFL), or NCAA Division I football game, or major motor speedway event. This temporary flight restriction applies to the entire U.S. domestic National Airspace System, and takes effect starting one hour before the scheduled event time until one hour after the event concludes. The FAA gives further detail in a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM.)
There are three ways to fly a UAS for work, business, or non-recreational reasons: