Using a drone to capture listing photos and videos or inspect properties is about to become significantly easier now that the federal government has finalized its long-awaited regulations over the commercial use of unmanned aerial systems.

The final rule issued Tuesday by the Federal Aviation Administration paves the way for people who obtain a remote pilot certificate to operate drones that weigh less than 55 pounds, as long as the aircraft remains within visual line-of-sight. Earning the certificate will involve passing a test of aeronautical knowledge at an FAA-approved testing center — but it will not require applicants to have formal flight training.

The new FAA regulations, which take effect in August, follow requests from industry groups, including the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, for regulators to develop a framework that would allow people without specialized training to use drones for purposes other than a hobby. NAR sent multiple letters to the FAA during the rulemaking process and testified before Congress in support of the use of drones in the real estate industry.
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