Palm Beach, be advised: That drone you bought at Sharper Image isn’t a toy. It’s an aircraft, and you can expect both the FAA and the town to be very particular about how you use it, especially if you’re planning to take photos or video.
Not long ago, our publisher (the Palm Beach Board of Realtors) hosted an educational forum led by local drone expert Shawn Holmgren of Palm Beach Drone, LLC. Holmgren talked specifically about the use of unmanned aircraft for real estate photography on the island, and in general about this brand-new technology and the evolving regulations governing its use.
In June, the town of Palm Beach enacted a strict set of rules that apply to the commercial use of aerial drones, requiring the operator to submit a permit application at least 30 days in advance. That means Palm Beach is a strict No Drone Zone, unless you get your paperwork in order.
Once the drone is in the air, the FAA takes over – and is most unforgiving. Fines for improper use start at $27,500 for the first offense.
There’s one rule we expect Palm Beachers to monitor closely: Without exception, pilots must ensure that their drones don’t violate anyone’s reasonable expectation of privacy. We’re surrounded by hundreds of gorgeous, ultra-private estates, and not a single resident wants to look out his window to see a tiny craft hovering in his pergola or over his pool.
Holmgren recommended the following sites to anyone interested in buying or flying drones:
- Know Before You Fly: An education campaign founded by the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) in partnership with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to educate prospective users about the safe and responsible operation of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS).
- Federal Aviation Administration: Information on unmanned aircraft systems, including new Part 107 Remote Pilot Certification.
- The Florida Senate: Statewide privacy protections related to drone use.
- National Association of Realtors: FAQs on legal and regulatory landscape pertaining to the use of small unmanned aircrafts.
He feels strongly that we won’t be seeing drones delivering pizzas, especially on Palm Beach. But how cool would it be if Patrick Lézé could wing over a dozen macarons?