Chicago Law Firm Expands Drone Law Practice Group to Offer Low-Cost Legal Services to Help Realtors Secure FAA Clearance to Fly Drones

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Antonelli Law Announces the Launch of “Drone Democracy,” an Expedited, Low-Cost Section 333 Filing Service to Help Small-Use Commercial Drone-Users Secure Fast FAA approval

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There are thousands of people out there trying to fly drones,” Antonelli said. “That’s what ‘Drone Democracy’ is all about—helping more people gain legal clearance to be able to operate drones.

Antonelli Law, a Chicago-based law firm that specializes in federal drone law, announced this week the launch of “Drone Democracy,” a lower-fee Section 333 service intended to help potential operators of commercial unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) obtain legal clearance from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)’s commercial drone regulations. Created as a division of Antonelli Law’s Drone/UAS Practice Group, “Drone Democracy” exclusively serves commercial UAS users seeking FAA approval to operate drones for small-scale uses like residential real estate and nature photography.

For a flat fee of $2,500, clients of “Drone Democracy” can expect to receive a response to their petition within as little as 90 days of hiring Antonelli Law. The expedited process is made possible under a new summary grant process that was put into motion recently by the FAA. Summary grants allow the agency to issue faster approvals to certain low-risk commercial drone operators whose categories of drone use have previously been issued approvals through the agency. Section 333 petitions submitted through the summary grant process typically see a faster approval process compared to complex commercial drone use petitions, which still require an in-depth analysis.

Previously, every petition filed for the commercial use of drones had to be reviewed by the FAA on a case-by-case basis with full regulatory analysis and publication in the Federal Register.
“It was unfortunate that the former petition process took a substantial amount of time to complete from start to finish—a lot of people would have to wait several months to be able to fly their drones,” Jeffrey Antonelli said. “We also found that there were too many people out there who couldn’t afford to file a petition, so we decided that no one should be shut out of being granted permission to fly a drone.”

Since launching the Drone/UAS Practice Group in January 2014, Antonelli Law’s team of legal and aviation experts have worked to secure five FAA exemptions for clients in the mining, GIS, electrical power line infrastructure, and real estate industries. Only about 600 total petitions had been granted as of June 2015 while thousands want to fly commercially. The approvals were pursuant to Section 333 of the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012, which authorizes the FAA to grant case-by-case authorization for certain drones to perform commercial operations.

“We’ve been working hard to streamline the petition-filing process to make it easier and faster for our clients to start flying drones,” Antonelli said. “We can now get the petitions approved quickly, especially if it’s a simple drone being operated for a common use like residential real estate photography, for example.”

The approval process was recently simplified even further thanks to another new FAA policy that allows drone-users approved for a Section 333 exemption to start flying their drones instantly. Previously, drone operators had to pass a second hurdle by applying for permission to fly in a particular block of airspace—a process that took up to 60 days. The “blanket” 200-foot COA policy allows drones that weight less than 55 pounds to operate below 200 feet in the air and fly anywhere in the country except restricted airspace.

“There are thousands of people out there trying to fly drones,” Antonelli said. “That’s what ‘Drone Democracy’ is all about—helping more people gain legal clearance to be able to operate drones.”


About Antonelli Law
Located in Chicago, Antonelli Law focuses on drone/UAS law, intellectual property, commercial law, and educational fraud. Antonelli’s Drone/UAS Practice Group is leveraged by the legal and aviation expertise of attorney Kate Fletcher, an experienced commercial pilot with one of the world's largest airlines, and Mark Del Bianco, a Washington D.C. attorney with substantial experience in federal administrative agency rulemakings, enforcement proceedings, and appeals. Antonelli, Fletcher, and Del Bianco together create a unique legal practice to serve clients in the emerging legal landscape of drone law. Antonelli Law is committed to drawing upon the skilled resources of both technical and legal talent for drone/UAS clients. For more information, visit or go to Antonelli Law’s Drone Laws Blog at More information on “Drone Democracy” is available at

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