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flying drone with camera on the skyAmid ongoing efforts to sanction the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in real estate, a Las Vegas REALTOR® has been granted a drone exemption by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

Jeff Galindo, principal of Real Estate Strategies, LLC and REALTOR® with Simply Vegas Real Estate, was granted the exemption approving the commercial use of drone technology on April 17. Galindo says he is the first real estate professional in Nevada to receive authorization.

“Unmanned aerial vehicles are a game changer,” says Galindo, who is also a licensed private pilot. “The kind of footage that we are able to acquire was previously only available using helicopters and airplanes. This is tremendously exciting and will literally change the way people view real estate in Las Vegas.”

Galindo’s drone of choice is the Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter, which he enlists to capture aerial video and photographs used to market listings.

News of Galindo’s exemption comes on the heels of an announcement that the FAA is partnering with CNN, BNSF Railway and UAV manufacturer PrecisionHawk to explore the logistics of commercial drone operation, including extended visual line-of-sight operations in urban and rural communities.

National Association of REALTORS® President Chris Polychron recently voiced support for the partnership, stating, “The FAA’s intention to study the safety of UAV flights that go beyond the line of sight of the operator could lead to important benefits in the real estate industry, particularly for agents who wish to market rural and large commercial properties. NAR continues to advocate for federal regulations that allow for the real estate industry’s safe commercial use of UAV technology while also protecting privacy rights.”

The initiative follows a February FAA proposal outlining regulations for commercial UAV use. The FAA will evaluate each of the nearly 4,500 public comments received before finalizing a rule.

Fellow Phantom user Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Ariz., was granted an exemption by the FAA in January.

In response to Galindo’s exemption, Trudeau says the “FAA has loosened a little for those who followed my lead.” Trudeau is still working towards his first drone-marketed listing post-approval.

“This new generation of unmanned aerial vehicles reaffirms the age-old notion that a picture is worth a thousand words,” says Galindo. “In the case of video, it’s really more like a million words!”

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