Feds give San Diego company permission to fly drones

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SAN DIEGO - A San Diego company joins a short list of businesses in the United States to gain FAA approval for commercial drone use.

“Since we got the exception, we are getting phone calls and emails daily of people who want to use our services,” said Mark Burns, owner of Burnz Eye View.

The company produces commercial quality, aerial shots predominantly of homes for real estate purposes.

While using drones for recreation is allowed under certain conditions, commercial use is illegal according to federal law.

The only exception is to get an exemption granted through the FAA.

“The companies that fly drones are held accountable and they must agree to fly under certain standards,” said Burns.

The process for Burns took six months and cost him several thousands of dollars.

He was granted the exception on January 23 and will now be able to take aerial shots without going above 400 feet.

As part of the conditions, the operator must also maintain the drone within view line at all times.

Aside from safety, Burns said respecting privacy is one his biggest concerns.

“The question of privacy has risen because when you’re up in the aerial you’re seeing neighboring properties. With Burnz we edit just the property that is in question … there is no overlap,” said real estate broker Rande Turner, a client of Burnz’s. “Those that are moving from out of town or the country can get a sense of what the lifestyle is like or the real estate.”

According to the Washington Post the FAA estimates that by 2020 more than 30,000 small drones will be used for all types of businesses.

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