FAA grants real estate, precision ag exemptions

By Emily Aasand | January 07, 2015

The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration granted the first two regulatory exemptions for unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) in 2015, including the first for real estate photography.

The exemptions were given to Douglas Trudeau with Tierra Antigua Realty which is located in Tucson, Arizona, and Advanced Aviation Solutions in Spokane, Washington. These exemptions now bring the total to 14 companies representing a range of industries.

According to the FAA report, Trudeau’s exemption allows him to fly a Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter to enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos. Advanced Aviation Solutions will be now be able to perform crop scouting for precision agriculture by using a fixed-wing eBee Ag UAS.

senseFly’s eBee Ag UAS is able to photograph up to 2,470 acres in a single flight, then use those images to create high-resolution maps that show which crops need treatment or closer examination. The eBee Ag has a wingspan of 96 cm (38 inches), can fly for up to 45 minutes and has automatic three-dimensional flight planning.

While both applications must acquire a certificate of authorization (COA), the U.S. Secretary of Transportation, Anthony Foxx, found that the UAS in the proposed operations do not need an FAA-issued certificate of airworthiness because they, “do not pose a threat to national airspace users or national security.” Those findings are permitted under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012.

According to the FAA, to date, it has received 214 requests for exemptions from commercial entities.

Recent FAA exemptions include Aerial MOB, LLC, Pictorvision Inc., HeliVideo Productions LLC, Snaproll Media LLC, RC Pro Productions Consulting LLC dba Vortex Aerial, Flying Cam LLC, CLyco Inc, Trimble Navigation, Limited, VDOS Global LCC, Woolpert Inc (I) and Woolpert Inc (II). Read more about these companies here, and here