What Can Happen If You Pilot a Drone Without Training

What Can Happen If You Pilot a Drone Without Training?

Drones are great for getting images of real estate properties. But don’t go rushing in to piloting a drone by yourself! There’s a lot that can go wrong when an amateur attempts to operate a drone. Read on to learn more and discover why you’re better off hiring a professional!

As we discussed in our previous blog entry, drone technology has been a true gift to the real estate field. Today, drone cameras are not just useful tools for showing off the best features of a property via aerial photography, they’re practically necessary!

In that previous blog, we explained why real estate agents are better off hiring a professional drone pilot to take photos of their properties. But maybe you’re not quite convinced. Maybe you’re still considering borrowing a drone or buying your own and grabbing those photos and videos yourself. After all, what could possibly go wrong?

The answer to that question: A lot! In this blog, we’ll be taking a look at the consequences of piloting a drone without knowing what you’re getting into.

Crashes, Accidents, and Everyday Mishaps

We’ll start with the most basic category of potential consequences for operating a drone as an inexperienced amateur. Just as with any technology, it’s easy to make a mistake while piloting a drone. Have you ever clicked or tapped the wrong thing on your computer or phone? On those devices, you can usually quickly hit the “undo” button, but there’s no such option with a drone.

An amateur drone pilot is much more likely to slip up and cause a drone to crash — either to crash on the ground, or worse, to collide with something else.

Picture this: You’re a real estate agent, operating the drone you ordered online to take photos and video of a property. Or maybe you’re watching as an amateur pilot who’s taking your photos for cheap is operating one. The drone hovers up to the top of the exterior of the house, and everything seems to be going well… until you or your amateur pilot loses control and chaos ensues. Whoops!

Drone accidents come in many forms. In Young Harris, Georgia in 2021, a drone pilot was actually injured by his own drone! When the drone stopped responding to the controls, the pilot attempted to remove the batteries and one of the drone’s propellers struck his hand. But that’s not all — as a result of the fact that the pilot was operating the drone in restricted airspace, he was investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board! When you hire a pilot who’s in the business of drones, you can be confident that these kinds of shenanigans won’t happen.

In 2017 in Mountain View, California, a drone crashed into power lines, causing a power outage for 1,600 residents and tens of thousands of dollars in damage. Professional drone pilots like ours at Falco Media Services have mastered the art of drone-flying with the precision and care required to avoid such an accident.

Here’s an even more extreme example: As this article from a Florida law firm points out, it’s not unheard-of for a drone crash to start a fire! This is among the worst-case scenarios, but it’s more likely to happen when the drone is in the hands of an inexperienced pilot. Yet another scenario to avoid by hiring a professional.

Legal and Financial Consequences

As we touched on in our previous blog, there are a plethora of laws and regulations surrounding the world of drones. They apply to pilots getting licensed, what kinds of drones must be registered, and where they’re allowed to fly.

In 2019, a resident of Roanoke, Virginia was charged by federal authorities after fooling around with a drone near a fire station. He admitted to deliberately causing mischief, so this is obviously an unusual example. But he would have faced potential consequences even if his drone activity was more benign: The drone was unregistered and was flying in controlled airspace, so Weeks was sentenced to two years’ probation and a $100 fine. That’s quite a price to pay for misusing a drone.

For a real estate agent, there are already enough rules and guidelines to keep up with in order to do the job effectively. Attempting to pick up that remote control and capture one’s own aerial photography adds a mountain of variables, uncertanties, and possible financial risks. As explained in this article from LiDAR News, “[t]he civil penalties for flying a commercial rig without first obtaining a remote pilot’s certificate from the FAA are up to $32,666 for each incidence.” This is an obvious point, but: It’s much cheaper to hire a licensed professional than to risk a fine like that.

Bad Photos

We’ll end with another basic one. Simply put, it takes a skilled photographer to capture the caliber of eye-catching, attention-grabbing photos you’ll need to make those properties look stunning and desirable from every conceivable angle and viewpoint.

We’re not implying you don’t know your way around a camera. But do you have the same level of knowledge as a professional? Perhaps you know the feeling of being in a beautiful setting on vacation and taking what you’re certain is an amazing photo — only to take another look when you’ve returned home and discover that it was out of focus, or it was framed wrong, or your fingertip was in the shot.

When the same thing happens with aerial drone photography, the stakes are much higher. When selling real estate is your livelihood, you can’t afford to take photos that turn out to be underwhelming. If a potential buyer is browsing your website and comes across pictures that look less-than-pristine, they’ll click away and try one of your competitors instead.

An experienced drone photographer like the ones on our team at Falco Media Services will deliver dynamic, crystal-clear photos and videos that will make your potential customers sit up and take notice.

In Conclusion:

When you have the opportunity to work with an aerial drone photography provider with years of experience, affordable rates, and an excellent history of customer satisfaction, there’s really no reason to take matters into your own hands and risk accidents, fines, and legal consequences.

Fortunately, you do have the opportunity to work with such a provider, right here in East Texas! Learn more about our aerial drone photography services on our website, and give us a call for your drone photography needs. At Falco Media Services, we’re no fly-by-night operation!