In a past blog post , Lewis Realty Associates, Inc announced that it was petitioning the FAA under Section 333 of the FAA Modernization Act of 2012 to fly "drones" to market real estate listings and area tourist attractions in late January of 2015.
After six months and a request for additional information, the FAA has given Lewis Realty Associates, Inc and President Chris Rackley an exemption to utilize the new technology in the Topsail Island real estate market.
The exemption or permission does come with conditions. Among others the conditions include:
- Rackley must obtain at least a Sport Pilot license (for traditional aircraft) before flying and employ a visual observer.
- Understand that all Traditional Aircraft will always have the Right of Way.
- Flight Restrictions on Distance From Airports.
- Perform pre-flight checks.
- Have property owner permission.
- Keep a maintenance log on the UAV.
- Will be subjected to Inspections by FAA and provide reports upon request.
The FAA was founded to provide air safety and benefits to the public. In the FAA's effort to fulfill their founding principles they only offer exemptions or permission to use "drones" with certain circumstances.
Lewis Realty Associates, Inc was the first real estate company in North Carolina to ask for the exemption but they were the third real estate agent/company to gain the exemption. Two others gained an exemption in other parts of the state in May and June of 2015. The FAA has been attempting to speed up the exemption process and are able to offer exemptions faster on mass produced drones. Lewis Realty Associates, Inc uses a custom built proprietary UAV (unmanned aircraft) of which the FAA rightfully requested additional information and specifications.
Rackley is currently eager to fly commercially and said, "Once I received the email from the FAA with the exemption, I immediately began googling flight schools in the area to fulfill one of the requirements [pilot's license]. I am very excited as aviation and cutting edge technology has always been a passion of mine and this is a perfect blend. This will also enhance our already innovative marketing to our clients and customers.".
Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. is one of the leading real estate companies in the Topsail Island market handling real estate sales, large inventory of vacation rentals and long term rentals. The company is also the second oldest on the island with over 50 years of history serving the public.