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Requesting help from you experienced folks on some regulations

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Ok, I think I already know the answer to this but would appreciate some feedback on this.

I have always been a sport flier. My son just started a Real Estate Brokerage and wants to know if I would use my H to do some aerial photography for him. I would be doing it as a favor for him with no compensation. Just a way to help him out and gain more flight/photography skills. Can I do this for him without getting either of us into any trouble?
 

PatR

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No.

Even if you receive no compensation/consideration the product obtained from the flight will be used to obtain compensation/consideration by another. If the flight generates anything that is used at any time by any entity, either by intent or accident, to promote business the flight becomes a commercial act.

In this case, as your son is requesting/encouraging an unlicensed recreational operator to conduct commercial operations for his commercial interests he would be subject to penalties up to 10x greater than what you could receive. Your familial relationship would be meaningless in an enforcement action. It’s possible it could make things worse as a law judge might consider family members were conspiring to circumvent the law.
 
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No.

Even if you receive no compensation/consideration the product obtained from the flight will be used to obtain compensation/consideration by another. If the flight generates anything that is used at any time by any entity, either by intent or accident, to promote business the flight becomes a commercial act.

In this case, as your son is requesting/encouraging an unlicensed recreational operator to conduct commercial operations for his commercial interests he would be subject to penalties up to 10x greater than what you could receive. Your familial relationship would be meaningless in an enforcement
action. It’s possible it could make things worse as a law judge might consider family members were conspiring to circumvent the law.
Thank you PatR & Phaedrus. That is the answer I was expecting. Time to study for my License!! ;)
 

RPR

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Please don't do it..... A lot of fliers are getting away, with this. It's saturating and hurting the industry. Sadly, the FAA is not diligent in tracking down violators, but you can always be reported. "Commercial Operation means that the pilot of an aircraft or drone is flying for compensation (including barter) or hire or simply in furtherance of a business. "In furtherance of business" can include flying for personal use but posting to a commercial business website or using personal flight videos or stills for marketing of a commercial business."
 
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FlushVision

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Please don't do it..... A lot of fliers are getting away, with this. It's saturating and hurting the industry. Sadly, the FAA is not diligent in tracking down violators, but you can always be reported. "Commercial Operation means that the pilot of an aircraft or drone is flying for compensation (including barter) or hire or simply in furtherance of a business. "In furtherance of business" can include flying for personal use but posting to a commercial business website or using personal flight videos or stills for marketing of a commercial business."
Indeed. The practice is killing it for us in the U.K. too, particularly the small one man operator, and our CAA doesn't seem to be diligent in enforcing the rules either. So much so that I very seriously considered chucking it all in because I wasn't breaking even. What changed my mind and made me renew my PfCO was that I got my foot in the door with a news media organisation. If I hadn't have got that I would have chucked it in and it would have been all because of recreational flyers doing commercial jobs for people on the cheep or for free.
 
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RPR

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Indeed. The practice is killing it for us in the U.K. too, particularly the small one man operator, and our CAA doesn't seem to be diligent in enforcing the rules either. So much so that I very seriously considered chucking it all in because I wasn't breaking even. What changed my mind and made me renew my PfCO was that I got my foot in the door with a news media organisation. If I hadn't have got that I would have chucked it in and it would have been all because of recreational flyers doing commercial jobs for people on the cheep or for free.
OMG!!! Here in the US, Hollywood paparazzi were the first target of the FAA, and thanks those jerks, it is hard to fly the the city of Los Angeles without proper credentials.

Last winter, a flyer “real-estate agent” or could be a friend or family member has been documenting the build, without authorization and papers for flying inside the construction pit. We learned about this, because, when a sUAS operator, one has to sign in and be on the calendar, as well as a policy to notify the safety foreman, due to the safety of the men below. The surveillance camera capture him entering the pit on the weekend, and posing as an operator, when asked by the security guard, who logged his name and license plate.

In short, Lennar Development has forwarded a cease and desist letter, and a trespassing violation. Lennar will impose a hefty fine as it did to the operator, who crashed inside the pit, almost hitting a parked vehicle.
 
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RPR

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Here’s a photo of that drone that crashed, as it turns out it was mapping the site, and we found out where it came from due to the onboard telemetry, and with the help of DJI.

 
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Thank you all for your excellent responses. To be clear, I have read enough threads on this subject to know I cannot do any "commercial" flying without a pilot license and I HAD NO INTENTION OF DOING IT. My objective was to show my son what the regulations are and the risks associated with it. Knowing that you are experts on the subject, I turned to you. He just got his real estate license and during his classes, some instructors and attendees touted that "drone photography was the future in Real Estate" but seemed somehow to leave out the regulations part. Odd since the classes were about Real Estate Rules & Regulations!!

Again, thank you all for your experience, expertise, and support. I love this forum!!
 

Mrgs1

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Indeed. The practice is killing it for us in the U.K. too, particularly the small one man operator, and our CAA doesn't seem to be diligent in enforcing the rules either. So much so that I very seriously considered chucking it all in because I wasn't breaking even. What changed my mind and made me renew my PfCO was that I got my foot in the door with a news media organisation. If I hadn't have got that I would have chucked it in and it would have been all because of recreational flyers doing commercial jobs for people on the cheep or for free.
Its the same for photography in general, more people doing weddings, portraits etc on the cheap, no qualifications, nature of the beast.
 
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No.

Even if you receive no compensation/consideration the product obtained from the flight will be used to obtain compensation/consideration by another. If the flight generates anything that is used at any time by any entity, either by intent or accident, to promote business the flight becomes a commercial act.

In this case, as your son is requesting/encouraging an unlicensed recreational operator to conduct commercial operations for his commercial interests he would be subject to penalties up to 10x greater than what you could receive. Your familial relationship would be meaningless in an enforcement action. It’s possible it could make things worse as a law judge might consider family members were conspiring to circumvent the law.
In the case example above... no question, commercial.
The transition qualifier from Hobbyist to Commercial; My understanding it’s not an 100% absolute, there are a few exceptions, based on “knowledgeable intent”. If someone provides a video without intention, knowledge or compensation to another party as a open sharing of video and that party later provides or uses video, that isn’t considered commercial going back to the author of media.

Expample: Person1 has son1, on a vacation Son1 films a few family vacation memories via his drone. This is well within Hobbyist category at this point.

When home, the videos are shown to friends, family or school class or fellow students. This is well within Hobbyist category. During the sharing, several of these are physically shared by passing video files. This is well within Hobbyist cstagory, no intent or act to use or share material commercially.

One of these physical shares recipients (direct or indirect) at a later date elects to use a piece of the “Son1 video” in their own video, as open stock media. This is within open stock license, no request or release is required to be obtained to use as open stock.

How this video is used going forward is of no knowledge by original author of media. No liability and no compensation in any fashion is gained by original author; not viewed as commercial media toward original author.

There is a verbiage within section that addresses knowledgeable intent, if shown no intent or prior agreement to provide, etc. Sharing aerial media does not equate automatically as commercial.

Along this subject, this was recently challenged in court within last few years and found no commercial act, guilt of original author, or ability to later collect compensation (I’d have to search for case, I stumbled across it doing other case research).

In this case, a Tourist lodging at a Hotel, showed a hotel employee whom shared an interest in photography, an aerial video produced by family member as mutual interest of aerial video. The employee asked for a copy, which was openly shared & provided. The tourist departs for home.

During the following year being a serious amature photographer the Hotel employee uses a piece within his own video (as open stock) for a school presentation and later in a student contest; awards are ribbons. The contest material was later used within his portfolio & resume for employment. Much later identified & questioned by original author, whom actually brought legal case for lack of compensation or recognition.

As mentioned above, case found no association of material within video product for original author for owned property, rights to property, or any association. Thus, not commercial consideration by FAA.
 
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Thank you all for your excellent responses. To be clear, I have read enough threads on this subject to know I cannot do any "commercial" flying without a pilot license and I HAD NO INTENTION OF DOING IT. My objective was to show my son what the regulations are and the risks associated with it. Knowing that you are experts on the subject, I turned to you. He just got his real estate license and during his classes, some instructors and attendees touted that "drone photography was the future in Real Estate" but seemed somehow to leave out the regulations part. Odd since the classes were about Real Estate Rules & Regulations!!

Again, thank you all for your experience, expertise, and support. I love this forum!!
Your above example provides good discussion of the “do’s & don’ts“ aerial photography... and pretty much within the knowledge of this forum.

Several extremely experienced and experts within the sUAV field. But unless identified as an attorney and probably practices within aerial or sUAV law, a public forum shouldn’t be considered your legal absolute or legal interpretation of FAA regulations. Our interpretations of regulations are common practice, not legal guidance or legal interpretation and may be incorrect... and no matter the FAA regulation, if brought to court, the final interpretation & ruling will be by Judge, not even FAA officials.
 

FlushVision

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Thank you all for your excellent responses. To be clear, I have read enough threads on this subject to know I cannot do any "commercial" flying without a pilot license and I HAD NO INTENTION OF DOING IT. My objective was to show my son what the regulations are and the risks associated with it. Knowing that you are experts on the subject, I turned to you. He just got his real estate license and during his classes, some instructors and attendees touted that "drone photography was the future in Real Estate" but seemed somehow to leave out the regulations part. Odd since the classes were about Real Estate Rules & Regulations!!

Again, thank you all for your experience, expertise, and support. I love this forum!!
Good man.
By the way, the act alone of opening up this discussion has served a very useful purpose in highlighting the issue of hobby pilots breaking the law, whether they intended to or not. I wonder how many hobby pilots in the U.K. fall foul of the law without realizing they've broken any laws. They may do a job for a family member for free but if that family member uses the aerial images to further business interests then those images are still considered to be commercial in nature. That pilot, and the family member that has asked the pilot to obtain images are both liable for prosecution. Tough for the pilot who has done it for free but will still be liable for a massive fine.
 
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Phaedrus

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In short, Lennar Development has forwarded a cease and desist letter, and a trespassing violation. Lennar will impose a hefty fine as it did to the operator, who crashed inside the pit, almost hitting a parked vehicle.
I knew Lennar was a big company but I never realized they could enforce trespassing laws and issue fines!!

But I agree totally about unauthorized access to work sites. A couple of equipment rental companies were notorious for driving onto big job sites trying to drum up business. And these were sites where you were required to have a OSHA- HAZWOPER certificate/training to step foot on the site.
 
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Not as a suggestion in any manor, but in the simple reality... as suggested comments above in both aerial and ground based photography lines of work: wedding, advertisement, etc. With the introduction of electronic hardware, intelligent bodies & lenses, digital images, internet and the various social & professional social sharing sites. The "need" to be trained, interned under Pro or experienced in photography, a graduate of Arts University or specialty Private school like Brooks Institute has become less important for many photography fields and cinema.

Your description of intentions is not unique, especially when focused on Realty work. Without any collection of data, I'd guess to say probably more Hobbyist than Professional (PT107) are providing images & videos to Realty agents or companies when considering all the small shops scattered around in towns and small cities.

I see it in my own small burb, several 13-16 yr old kids are doing small Realty videos for Parents or friends of parents that are Realty Agents. I was tuning a larger platform in my driveway last Summer when approached by a Realtor leaving an open house. At first she informed me that her Son's enjoy the drone videos, then followed up by asking what price is involved. Giving a few estimates depending on depth of work or production, she gave a facial look that you could easily read, she had no intentions to pay out of her commission for an aerial or ground photography. Like a Farmer enjoys their kids as free "hands", Realtors enjoy techie kids as free assets too.

All the legal considerations or consequences are a "Real" concern, but in the reality of actually being prosecuted, fined or impacting their businesses extremely minimal risk... approaching nill on the averages. With the FAA not able to keep up with all the reg's, inspections, violations, expired licenses, etc for aircraft & pilots; the increased workload and ability to identify or prove a video's legality, and the resources to investigate and prosecute. They too make decisions on what legal infringements to pursue. Personally in my opinion, one of the motivators in the changes in sUAV sections allowing LEO and possibly more authority positions to address local violation events is to assist in discouragement of the acts and issuing of fines. Although, it'll introduce it's own challenges and legal arguments.

As example of even more grave incident on the scale of violation or multiple violations: There was a recent incident (maybe 2 incidents now) where a sUAV was shot down in a neighborhood. This act is "clearly" outlined in FAA regs and has State & Federal Court touching on the matter in various ways too. Currently looks like it won't even wiggle the Federal prosecution or FAA needle to pursue... the major reason: No Harm to Human or Vital property (energy company, tower, etc). It'll receive minimal impact by local authority and fade into old news... not even useable for future precedence in similar cases.

Is it wrong, absolutely... are there tangents that could be argued, absolutely. Should it be performed, NO and not suggested or recommended.... it's legally defined as not allowed. Although your "do/don't decision" is more a matter of respecting the regulations, NOT for fear of fines or prosecution.
 
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RPR

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I knew Lennar was a big company but I never realized they could enforce trespassing laws and issue fines!!

But I agree totally about unauthorized access to work sites. A couple of equipment rental companies were notorious for driving onto big job sites trying to drum up business. And these were sites where you were required to have a OSHA- HAZWOPER certificate/training to step foot on the site.

No trespassing is a sign posted outside the premises of every build, and this is why drone operators are hired to do "Asset Management" New homeowners, are allowed to drive through once the models are in 90% doc. or only at the front to checkout the model homes.

On the 40-100% doc. Expensive materials are on the field. SHOT!! I had someone threw rocks on my drone that is why on every drone day, as we call it, when I am on the fly calendar, I'm given a VO or a security guard to go with me. Or foreman's just want to chat and ask what drone to get their son.


 

RPR

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Build SJC Inc. of course in San Jose, Ca. Totally closed off the two blocks, sad to say, there are so many homeless in the bay area. A city that was once the 3rd safest city in the country. Pacific Commons in Fremont, also closed it's gates and a mobile security patrolling the premises. In Treasure Island, people stealing cement, and pipes. The construction pits in Treasure Island has a no drone fly over, but SFPD still respect the FPV hobbyist. All the upper and lower Northern California pits are closed off. There has been citation, and detentions made.
 

Phaedrus

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I was not commenting on job site security, etc. I was interested in how Lennar was imposing fines on people for trespassing. I wish we could do it.
 

RPR

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I was not commenting on job site security, etc. I was interested in how Lennar was imposing fines on people for trespassing. I wish we could do it.
Why can you guys not have an imposed policy? Every site as an asset management policy.
 

RPR

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There is a loop hole.... I will not mention any names.. Let's just say that Vblogger NC, BL, OL, PB is not sponsored by a known company D&I as they state on their Vblogs and they will say this "Disclaimer: I am not sponsored by D&I to make this video" but he is taking gifts, and luxurious trips, but to be able to take those gift and trips the company will send you a certain sum, but on the memo the expenditure is to be used towards "gifts and trips" If you guys follow the bread crumbs, it will blow your mind, because it is legal and D&I has exercised this, and this is not new it happens to RC modeling all the time to elude tax, and the company get a nice tax break.
 

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