Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back
Back

Know the Law: New Rules Make it Easier for Professionals to Use Drones

Written by: John Weaver

Published in the Union Leader (9/26/2016)

Q: I’m a real estate broker and want to use a drone to take aerial pictures of the properties I’m selling. What do I need to do to legally use a drone that way?

A: The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently finalized new rules for light weight drones, that is, drones weighing less than 55 pounds. The new rules make it easier for real estate brokers, photographers, event planners, and anyone else to use drones for commercial purposes. Prior to the new rules, operators needed to petition the FAA for a specific waiver before using a drone in their businesses. The waiver process was time consuming and onerous, creating a backlog of unfulfilled applications from business owners.

Now, operators who want to use light weight drones for commercial purposes may do so as long as: (1) the drones comply with certain operating criteria; and (2) the operator holds a remote pilot certificate or is under the direct supervision of someone who holds a remote pilot certificate.

Among the operating criteria are requirements that drones fly within the line of sight of the operator, only during daylight hours, at a maximum groundspeed of 100 miles per hour, no higher than 400 feet above ground, and within G Class airspace, i.e., airspace that is not classified as controlled airspace due to proximity to airports and other relevant factors. Drones may not fly over people and may not be flown from a moving vehicle. Drones may fly within Class B, C, and D airspace (i.e., airspace near airports) with permission from the relevant air traffic control. Additionally, the drone must be registered with the FAA’s Small Unmanned Aircraft Registration Service.

Unless you hold a part 61 pilot certificate, in order to obtain a remote pilot certificate, an operator must: (1) demonstrate aeronautical knowledge by passing an initial aeronautical knowledge test at an FAA-approved testing center; (2) be vetted by the FAA, and (3) be at least 16 years old. There are FAA-approved in Gilford, Keene, Manchester and Nashua. Operators may be vetted by the FAA after they have passed the knowledge test by submitting an online application through the FAA IACRA system.

Please note that anyone seeking to operate a drone should consult with the FAA or materials produced by the FAA for a complete list of drone and operator requirements. Depending on your location, experience, and activities, the requirements may vary.

John Weaver is an attorney in the Corporate Department of McLane Middleton. His book, Robots Are People Too, which discusses legal changes needed to address upcoming autonomous technology, will be available this fall from Praeger Publishing. He can be reached at [email protected].

Know the Law is a bi-weekly column sponsored by McLane Middleton.

We invite your questions of business law.  Questions and ideas for future columns should be addressed to:  Know the Law, McLane Middleton,  P.O. Box 888, Manchester, NH 03101 or emailed to [email protected].  Know the Law provides general legal information, not legal advice.  We recommend that you consult a lawyer for guidance specific to your particular situation.

Integrity and trust

At McLane Middleton we establish and maintain long-standing relationships with our clients to help us better achieve their unique goals over time. This approach to building trust requires that our esteemed lawyers and professionals use their broad, in-depth knowledge and work together with integrity to ascertain sound resolutions to legal matters for their clients.

Strength in numbers

McLane Middleton is made up of more than 105 attorneys who represent a broad range of clients throughout the region, delivering customized solutions. As a firm we are recognized as having the highest legal ability rating. The firm is rated Preeminent by Martindale Hubbell and is recognized as one of the nation's leading law firms in Chambers USA. Our attorneys are distinguished leaders in their respective practice areas.

Meet Our People

Commitment and collaboration

McLane Middleton's versatile group of attorneys and paralegals become trusted authorities on each case through collaboration. We work with our clients to learn their individual needs first and foremost and, together, we develop comprehensive solutions to their specific legal matters. This approach helps us exceed our clients' expectations efficiently and effectively, client by client, case by case.

Practice Areas

A history of excellence

McLane Middleton was established in 1919 in New Hampshire, and has five offices across two states. However, deep historical roots don't allow you to become innate. Our firm is organized, technological, and knowledgeable. Our history means we are recognized. But our reputation is built on the highest quality of service and experience in very specific areas of law.

The Firm

Intelligence paired with action

Our team continuously seeks opportunities to enhance their professional development and put key learnings to action. The pursuit of further insight guides us to volunteer service opportunities, speaking engagements, and teaching roles. Our lawyers are sought after thought leaders across their industries, and recipients of leadership awards throughout the region.