Civil aviation authorities have scuppered the unlicensed usage of remote-controlled drones by a realtor in South Australia for the creation of stunning aerial photos of properties.
While South Australian realtor Toop&Toop managed to create a great deal of buzz in the local property sector with its novel use of drones to create stunning aerial views of properties on their books, the civil aviation authorities have since ordered the company to refrain from the practice.
The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) has issued the company with a notice to desist from flying its imported fleet of unmanned planes on the grounds that the realtor had failed to obtain the authorisations needed for their commercial usage.
Toop&Toop managing director Anthony Toop ordered the drones from the United States, and hailed the results of trial photos from the devices as "so much better than we could ever have imagined."
The company used the drones to capture spectacular aerial photos of some of the magnificent properties they had available for sale, garnering significant attention from the media following the issuance of a press release.
Unfortunately for the company, however, the publicity inspired their competitors to import drones of their own to take similar, spectacular shots of available properties.
According to Toop, those competitors have yet to be chastised in the same way by CASA since they lack the high profile of his own company.
CASA representatives said that while taking photographs of the homes of clients for commercial purposes using unmanned drones was perfectly legal, it required an approved operator of remotely piloted aircrafts, or else an operator's certificate and approval from CASA.
There are only 110 operators authorised by CASA to remotely pilot unmanned drones, however, while the process for obtaining certification is lengthy and expensive, costing thousands of dollars.
Despite enlisting the services of a trained and licensed operator, Toop has decided to refrain from much further usage of the drones due to regulatory requirements which the firm considers excessive, as well as a preference for conducting all operations in-house.
The realtor has instead resorted to an old-fashioned yet dependable expedient to achieve its property aerial shots - the mounting of cameras on 40-metre high aluminium poles, which according to Toop can capture 80 per cent of the shots that the drones could.