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Using a Realtor as an observer

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Has anyone had success with using a realtor as an observer? I do not have my 107 yet, but thinking through who I'd use as an observer since I do not have employees and would rather not have to beg friends or family to help me on jobs. Initially I was thinking I could do it that way by outlining the assistance I'd need and quickly training the realtor on what to look for. My concern is the uncooperative realtor, or realtor who doesn't follow through as agreed; that makes me think I have to find someone I can pay to be an observer.
 

PatM

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An observer is not mandatory as long as you the pilot; maintains VLOS. As you noted, an untrained observer can be a hindrance if they don't know their full purpose so I would not ask a stranger or anyone unfamiliar with UAV operations to be an observer on a commercial shoot. So far I have only had one job where it would have been advantageous to have an observer so I could fly over a stand of tress to the other side of a property. In this case I simply landed, carried my gear to the new location and took off and got the shots I needed. Most times when we're on a shoot there are houses in close proximity and the aircraft is never more than a few hundred feet away and most times it is within 100 feet or so.
 

ArrUnTuS

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Doesn't the observer have to be one with pilot permits? At least here it is required that as a minimum the observer has accredited the theoretical part of the Drone Pilot license.
 

PatM

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Not here in the states @ArrUnTuS currently, but I think its a good idea that anyone assisting in UAV operations have an understanding not only of the flight parameters but also know what information they need to relay to the pilot and why.
 

n5kc

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First....if I was paying you to fly my estate and you asked me to be a VO...I believe you would lose me as a customer. Just saying. Secondly....flying real estate and doing so without a drone license is reportable to insurance companies and FAA which could cause the real estate company a great deal of money in the event something happened.
 

BigAl07

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First....if I was paying you to fly my estate and you asked me to be a VO...I believe you would lose me as a customer.

I completely agree. Plus you've got to realize that the Realtor might (most likely will) get phone calls and text messages and they will be attending to those items and not NAS Safety. If I hire you and you suggest that you need me to work for you, I'm going to expect a discount and probably won't call you back again. I'm hiring you to make my life easier.

It's up to you to provide whatever is needed to ensure a safe flight. If this means a VO then you need to hire such. A good VO isn't expensive and many people would do it for a burger and a shake.

For the record, we utilize at least 1 VO on 95% of all flights. Once in a while I'll do one solo but we use VO in our business model and I happen to be married to one of them LOL.

...Just saying. Secondly....flying real estate and doing so without a drone license is reportable to insurance companies and FAA which could cause the real estate company a great deal of money in the event something happened.

He just stated he's "thinking it through" so he's not actually doing this line of work yet... or at least that's how I read it. :)
 
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AerialZ

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I completely agree. Plus you've got to realize that the Realtor might (most likely will) get phone calls and text messages and they will be attending to those items and not NAS Safety. If I hire you and you suggest that you need me to work for you, I'm going to expect a discount and probably won't call you back again. I'm hiring you to make my life easier.

It's up to you to provide whatever is needed to ensure a safe flight. If this means a VO then you need to hire such. A good VO isn't expensive and many people would do it for a burger and a shake.
BigAl is sharing some excellent advice with you. In the hundreds of properties I've shot, I can't EVER think of a time where it would have been a good idea to utilize any Realtor as my assistant in any way. First off, their attention will never be focused on your shoot safety parameters. In my market, Realtors are very rarely present when I'm shooting unless in some occasions getting me access to the interior of the associated buildings. Either way, if you believe you need a VO for the job, it should be one you're providing and have properly trained.
For the record, we utilize at least 1 VO on 95% of all flights. Once in a while I'll do one solo but we use VO in our business model and I happen to be married to one of them LOL.
Bwahahaha... I think that's an industry standard! LOL My wife accompanies me on many shoots acting as a VO and she is technically #2 VO on our company list. Personally, I don't use a VO on many of my RE shoots because they are in remote locations with low risk. This allows me to keep pricing to the brokers and agents lower. Some jobs, there are just no safe ways around having those extra sets of eyes and ears keeping watch.
 
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WMBGVA

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Has anyone had success with using a realtor as an observer? I do not have my 107 yet, but thinking through who I'd use as an observer since I do not have employees and would rather not have to beg friends or family to help me on jobs. Initially I was thinking I could do it that way by outlining the assistance I'd need and quickly training the realtor on what to look for. My concern is the uncooperative realtor, or realtor who doesn't follow through as agreed; that makes me think I have to find someone I can pay to be an observer.
 

WMBGVA

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Seems like a good idea to me. They generally aren't required but seems like a good idea anyway to have your customer there to coordinate what shot they'd like. I don't to it because I prefer the independence but then again I'm willing to make multiple visits until I get a "WOW!" from them. If you think they might contribute to the shot and increase security/compliance then I'd at least invite them.
 

Anokadrone

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Not a good idea, tried that once but than notice they were more interested looking over my shoulder at the monitor??? Live and learn get someone responsible and knows how valuable that position is on the team.
Very much agree. I think having an untrained VO would be bad idea. Being distracted when conducting any flight operations is never good. Someone looking over your shoulder and yapping in your ear just does not work.
 
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I agree with what’s being said here. I would not trust agents to do a good enough job. Moreover, it’s the best way to look unprofessional to your client (the agent).

I also strongly recommend you wait until you have your 107 before trying to get clients. In the meantime, you can use your free time to build a website and work on your editing skills.
 

R.Perry

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When we are required to have an observer, that person is trained and supplied by our company. What is your observers eye sight, do they know what to watch for, have they been taught the basics of drone operations. This isn't something you spend a five minute training course on. Personally I think observers are a waste of time, I watch my own drone, and I trust me most of the time.

As stated above, asking a client to be an observer would probably be a quick way to lose a client.

Get your license, and practice a lot before jumping into business. That's my two cents.
 

33 UAV

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I have 3 friends who are willing to be my VO for my drone operation. Drone flight for a real estate property normally take 1-2 hours. I buy them lunch afterward. I never thought to have a realtor to be my VO since they pay me to fly my drone for them.
 

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