SD Company One of First to Get Approval to Fly Drones Commercially

A San Diego company is one of the first in the country to now legally be able to use drones.

Burnz Eye View, a marketing and promotions company, received a FAA Grant of Exemption from the Federal Aviation Authority. The company creates theatrical video trailers and captures aerial images of luxury real estate, including residential and commercial properties, horse ranches, golf courses and yachts.

The company is one of 16 in the U.S. approved by the FAA to fly drones for commercial use.

On Wednesday, NBC 7 met up with co-owner Mark Burns, who was at the controls of a four propeller drone with a GoPro camera strapped to the bottom.

"We can now get video from one to 400 feet of any angle of a property," Burns explained. "We can show the surrounding area. We can immerse people visually in a way that couldn't be done with still photos before."

But the key for commercial use is knowing when and where you can fly it safely, especially as drone popularity gets bigger and bigger.

The FAA wants to ensure operators won't fly their drones into other aircraft or hurt anyone on the ground.

"Are there trees nearby, birds nearby? We're all about safety," said Tom Burns with Burnz Eye View. "We want to make sure the quad is in great shape when it gets back to us so we can fly again." 

Mark likens the responsibility to driving a car. You may not want it in the hands of a child. And while they feel like a toy, Burnz Eye View's drones run some $3,000.

They are tools, so if they were to fall out of the sky and hit someone — or if you were to touch the propellers — they could cause real damage.

Mark also addressed the ever-present privacy concerns. He said their attitude is if you don't have permission to walk there, then don't fly there. Trespassing law has not caught up with drones.

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