Real estate agents across Colorado are hiring drone photographers to capture sweeping aerial footage. Whether you’re an independent realtor, or part of a larger real estate company, it’s important to hire a drone pilot who will highlight your listing safely and legally. Discover why your drone pilot should be FAA certified.

Hiring a Pilot

Drones are used for all types of real estate–residential homes, land, commercial properties, and even apartments. The technology in a drone is capable of capturing video, still images, map imagery, and 360-degree panorama views. It’s no wonder that more and more real estate professionals are hiring drone pilots to add to their interior pictures. So, what should you look for when hiring a drone pilot?

Remote Pilot Certificate

The first question you should ask is, “Do you have a Remote Pilot Certificate?” This is what the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) call a drone pilot’s license. The reason behind this is that the FAA requires a drone pilot to have a certificate if the pilot receives any form of compensation. Why? Commercial use of a drone can be risky business…if the pilot is not certified. For instance, as potential drone pilots enroll for licensure, they must pass the Knowledge Test. This written assessment covers subjects like safety, weather, emergency procedures, and other relevant issues–everything you want a drone pilot to know.

Furthermore, the FAA has specific legal requirements for pilot’s licenses and safety operations. These are supported by our local law officers. Therefore, if anyone suspects the unauthorized usage of a drone, the FAA won’t be called, but rather the police. That’s a headache you can do without (keep reading to find out the penalties). Always check that your pilot has a current Remote Pilot Certificate.

FAA Registration

The second item you should inquire about when hiring a drone pilot is drone registration with the FAA. Regardless if you are operating a hobby drone or a commercial drone, it must be registered with the FAA. The registration process will give you a unique number that starts with “N” or “FA.” The registration number should be visible at all times.

Without a Remote Pilot Certificate and proof of registration with the FAA, the drone pilot cannot obtain liability or hull insurance policies. While it’s not mandatory for a drone to have an insurance policy, it’s definitely reassuring to know everyone will be protected from potential incidents.


So, what happens if you hire a hobby drone pilot who is not licensed, registered, or insured? Ultimately, it can be an expensive mistake.

First, there will be hot water for the drone pilot. A violation of any FAA rules could lead to suspension/revocation of a license, future denial of a pilot’s license, civil penalties, and/or jail time. Yikes!

Secondly, there could be ramifications for the company that hires the novice drone pilot. There was one case where a company in Chicago who had to pay $250,000 in civil penalties for hiring a contractor with unregistered drones. Not only could this be a costly mistake, but also it could tarnish your company’s reputation.

The following describe the penalties imposed by the FAA:

  • Drone Registration: Failure to register a drone could result in finds up to $32,666 per incident. Furthermore, the FAA may impose criminal charges, which include a fine up to $250,000 and/or a prison sentence up to three years.
  • Commercial Drone Flying without a Pilot’s License: Flying unlicensed could result in a fine of $32,666. Furthermore, the FAA may impose criminal charges, which include a fine up to $250,000 and/or a prison sentence up to three years.

Hire the Best

Simply put: Your drone pilot should be FAA certified.

Aerial drone photography is a game changer in real estate. Give your listing the competitive advantage you need by hiring licensed and insured professionals of Exclusive Edge Media. Moreover, our high-quality drones not only provide high-resolution videos, but also sharp images that even professional photographers will envy. As if the raw footage wasn’t good enough, Exclusive Edge Media edits our high-quality drone videos and photography using our professional editing software, and then brands them for your company’s marketing and promotional use.

Schedule Your Aerial Drone Photography and Videography Session Today!