July 3, 2014 8:44 pm
Updated: July 3, 2014 8:46 pm

Fort McMurray realtors take to the sky to sell homes

A drone captures video footage from above Fort McMurray, AB.

Credit: The A-Team

EDMONTON – From pizza delivery in Mumbai to a murder investigation outside of Edmonton, drones have been useful in a number of different scenarios.

Now, a couple of Fort McMurray realtors are using the remote-controlled device to show a bird’s-eye view of homes for sale in the northern Alberta community.

“We just were trying to find something that would make us stand out in the marketplace,” said Breanna Albrecht.

WATCH: Aerial footage from above Fort McMurray

Breanna and her partner in crime Tom Albrecht call themselves ‘The A-Team.’ While anyone can go out and buy a drone, because the Albrechts are using the piece of equipment for commercial purposes, they had to go through a rather lengthy application process with Transport Canada to get their final licence to fly.

And there are guidelines that must be followed.

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“There’s a lot of criteria,” said Tom. “If you added them up there’s probably 50 different things that we have to abide by from altitudes, to notifying neighbours, to weather conditions.”

The drone can only be flown inside the property boundaries of the home being captured in the video. In addition, the Albrechts must get permission to show neighbouring homes in the video. If permission is not given, the video footage must be blurred.

“It’s a requirement that one of us is flying the drone and the other one is watching out for pedestrians and vehicles and birds and planes and that kind of thing,” added Breanna.

The Albrechts say they’re one of only a handful of realtors using the technology.

READ MORE: Drone technology takes off in real estate industry

But while drones can be a lot of fun, there are some serious safety concerns being raised around their use.

An airliner nearly collided with a drone in the sky over Florida in March. And earlier this week a drone came close to colliding with an aircraft taking off from Vancouver’s airport.

READ MORE: RCMP investigate plane’s near-miss with drone

Transport Canada says it is working closely with American authorities on regulation approaches.

“Unmanned air vehicle (UAV) systems is a rapidly emerging sector and Transport Canada has been working closely with stakeholders for many years to assist the community in enabling their activities in the safest possible manner,” said Jill Ritchot, a communications officer with Transport Canada.

In the meantime, the Albrechts say they will be vigilant in following the regulations set out by the Canadian authorities. The fine for companies that break the rules on commercial drone use is $25,000.

“Throughout the process with Transport Canada and flying the thing, I think we’ve learned it’s very serious business,” Tom said. “We’re going to be extremely careful and make sure everyone is taken care of in various different ways.”

With files from Vinesh Pratap, Global News.

© Shaw Media, 2014

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