Commercial drone use has been making its mark on industries as diverse as agriculture, filmmaking and journalism. In Huntsville, real estate broker Russ Russell has brought the new technology to bear on his home turf.
Russ Russell Commercial Real Estate recently partnered with Sky View LLC to use drones to take aerial photos of their properties. “Sky View first approached me about using drones for our aerial photos, and we decided that it would be much more cost-effective and less cumbersome that way, ” Russell says.
Such photos used to require renting a piloted plane for a fly-over, but with the advent of drones the photos can be obtained more easily and cheaply. An hour of photographing with a plane and pilot would cost roughly $500, while Sky View charges $85 an hour. Drone photos can provide more detail at a lower cost, Russell says, and can also be used to obtain video.
“It’s very preferable to the way we did things previously, ” says Russell.
The FAA is wary of drones being used for commercial enterprises but has issued no regulations to date. Russell says he’s had no federal opposition to his use of drones.
In the absence of federal regulations, Russell and SkyView have devised guidelines for themselves to help ensure privacy and safety. Nearby homeowners are informed that the drone will be in the air photographing, and the drone is always examined for any structural flaws or damage before it flies.
Russell sees drones as having a bright future in business across the country and Alabama. “In the future, I think drones will be everywhere, and that’ll mean great things for businesses and consumers alike.”
text by Drew Rutens