Definition of a Populous Area & Real Estate Photography Question

Drone Operations rules and reg's.
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Definition of a Populous Area & Real Estate Photography Question

Postby Chopper Guy » Thu Feb 09, 2017 12:55 am

Hey Guys

Genuine question… how do you comply with (or get around) the populous area rule when doing real estate photography ??

CASR 101.025 - Meaning of Populous Area
For this Part, an area is a populous area in relation to the operation of an unmanned aircraft or rocket if the area has a sufficient density of population for some aspect of the operation, or some event that might happen during the operation (in particular, a fault in, or failure of, the aircraft or rocket) to pose an unreasonable risk to the life, safety or property of somebody who is in the area but is not connected with the operation.

As an example, I head out and purchase a Phantom 4, register it with CASA using the sub 2kg rule and line up a few photo shoots with the local real estate agent.

When I turn up at the property (based on the above reg) my understanding is that I can fly directly above the house that I’m photographing, over the front yard / back yard etc as that property is directly connected with the operation.

However, how do I then legally take those shots that you see where the drone is clearly flying over somebody else’s house so that the photo taken can show the house in question in relation to the beach etc… (example attached)


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Re: Definition of a Populous Area & Real Estate Photography Question

Postby helothere » Tue Feb 21, 2017 5:44 am

The answer is a little grey. The essence of the rule of populous area is that if something were to go wrong and your Phantom plowed into the ground near a person, you have not caused them harm so you have broken no rule. If it were to hit someone and cause injury, then you have broken the rule.

Common sense and courtesy would suggest asking permission from a property owner to fly above their house to take your shots. A good sweetener might be to offer the owner some nice pic's of their property too.
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Re: Definition of a Populous Area & Real Estate Photography Question

Postby Cleared Hot » Thu Jun 01, 2017 7:02 am

Populous area is another gray one lol. For drones I do believe populous is a bit different to the general aviation example, I see it for drones that not to be flying over people in a built up area. If we were to go by the aviation example you wouldn't be able to fly in city's or towns at all. Remember you still have to remain 30m from people and buildings if you don't have other approvals.
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Re: Definition of a Populous Area & Real Estate Photography Question

Postby Tactical71 » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:25 am

Mate, its pretty simple.

If you are doing a real estate shot over a house, that you have permission to fly over from the owner, and you are not hovering over it for a lengthy period of time, then its "reasonable" that if your aircraft is in properly working order, and the weather conditions are conducive to flying then you are not posing an "unreasonable" risk of property damage. Its about about the rule of "reasonableness"! And who will decide that....a Magistrate, if CASA decides to take you to Court because they feel that what you did posed an unreasonable risk, as is dictated in the regs. And CASA would need to provide evidence to prove, beyond reasonable doubt (that word again), that your operation posed an unreasonable risk to the safety of property or a person etc etc. The regs dont mention a 30 metre for anything except people. CASA say 30m from buildings, but the regs don't. The regs just use the Populous Area rule, which specifies posing an unreasonable risk to safety etc.

Just use a common sense approach and you should be fine.

Either that or use someone else to do it. Like ME!


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