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Know Before You Fly – Drone Use

“Know Before You Fly” is an educational campaign that provides prospective unmanned aircraft users, including small business and home-based businesses, with the information and guidance they need to fly safely and responsibly.


The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI)—the world’s largest nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of unmanned systems and robotics—represents more than 7,500 members from 60+ allied countries involved in the fields of government, industry and academia. AUVSI members work in the defense, civil and commercial markets.

For more information, go to www.auvsi.org.

About AMA

The Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA) is the premier community-based organization in the

United States for model aviation enthusiasts. With 175,000 members, the AMA is dedicated to

the advancement and safeguarding of modeling activities. The Academy provides leadership,

organization, competition, protection, representation, education and scientific/technical development to the model aviation community.

About Small UAV Coalition

The Small UAV Coalition advocates for law and policy changes to permit the operation of small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) beyond the line-of-sight, with varying degrees of autonomy, for commercial, civil and philanthropic purposes. Its members include the leading manufacturers, operators, and service providers of small UAVs.

For more information, go to www.smalluavcoalition.org


The FAA currently authorizes the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) for commercial or business purposes on a case-by-case basis. You may not fly your UAS for commercial purpose without the express permission from the FAA. You should check with the FAA for further determination as to what constitutes a commercial or business use of small UAS.

What is a commercial use of UAS?

Any commercial use in connection with a business, including:

• Selling photos or videos taken from a UAS

• Using UAS to provide contract services, such as industrial equipment or factory inspection

• Using UAS to provide professional services, such as security or telecommunications

What are some examples of commercial uses of UAS?

• Professional real estate or wedding photography

• Professional cinema photography for a film or television production

• Providing contract services for mapping or land surveys

If you want to use UAS for a commercial purpose, you have a few options.

1. You can apply for an exemption from the FAA to operate commercially.

2. You can use UAS with an FAA airworthiness certificate and operate pursuant to FAA rules.

In both cases you would also need an FAA Certificate of Authorization (COA). For more information about how to apply for an exemption, visit



Currently, small unmanned aircraft systems (sUAS) may be operated for hobby and recreational purposes under specific safety guidelines as established by Congress. Small UAS flown for recreational purposes are typically known as model aircraft.

Under the Special Rule for Model Aircraft, recreational UAS must be operated in accordance with several requirements, including a community-based set of safety guidelines and within the programming of a nationwide community-based organization such as the Academy of Model Aeronautics (AMA).

Operators not operating within the safety program of a community-based organization

should follow the FAA’s guidance at http://www.faa.gov/uas/publications/model_aircraft_operators/

What is recreational use of a sUAS?

The recreational use of sUAS is the operation of an unmanned aircraft for personal interests and

enjoyment. For example, using an sUAS to take photographs for your own personal use would be

considered recreational; using the same device to take photographs or videos for compensation or sale to another individual would be considered a commercial operation.

You should check with the FAA for further determination as to what constitutes commercial or

other non-hobby, non-recreational sUAS operations.

What are the safety guidelines for sUAS recreational users?

• Follow community-based safety guidelines, as developed by organizations such as the

Academy of Model Aeronautics.

• Fly no higher than 400 feet and remain below any surrounding obstacles when possible.

• Keep your sUAS in eyesight at all times, and use an observer to assist if needed.

• Remain well clear of and do not interfere with manned aircraft operations, and you must see

and avoid other aircraft and obstacles at all times.

• Do not intentionally fly over unprotected persons or moving vehicles, and remain at least 25 feet

away from individuals and vulnerable property.

• Contact the airport or control tower before flying within five miles of an airport.

• Do not fly in adverse weather conditions such as in high winds or reduced visibility.

• Do not fly under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

• Ensure the operating environment is safe and that the operator is competent and proficient in

the operation of the sUAS.

• Do not fly near or over sensitive infrastructure or property such as power stations, water

treatment facilities, correctional facilities, heavily traveled roadways, government facilities, etc.

• Check and follow all local laws and ordinances before flying over private property.

• Do not conduct surveillance or photograph persons in areas where there is an expectation of

privacy without the individual’s permission (see AMA’s privacy policy).

If you want to use a model aircraft for recreational purpose, we encourage you to read the AMA’s Model Aircraft Safety Code and Community-Based Guidelines.

Public Entities

Public entities, which include publically funded universities, law enforcement, fire departments and other government agencies, may currently apply for a COA from the FAA in order to use sUAS in public aircraft operations.

Who can obtain a COA to operate public aircraft?

• Only government entities—such as federal and state government agencies, law enforcement agencies and public colleges and

universities—can receive a COA for public UAS aircraft operations.

• Public aircraft operations must be conducted for a governmental function.

• COAs are most commonly issued to public (government) entities, but are also required for

civil (private) operations.

• The FAA thoroughly evaluates each COA application to determine the safety of the proposal.

• COAs are issued for a specific period of time, usually two years, and include special provisions

unique to each proposal, such as a defined block of airspace and time of day sUAS can be used.

How can I apply for a COA?

• Visit the FAA website for information on how to apply for a COA online

• Since 2009, the FAA has taken steps to streamline the application process by transitioning online

• The average authorization period is less than 60 days

• Expedited authorization is available in emergency and life-threatening situations

* For more information about public aircraft operations refer to 49 U.S.C. §§ 40102(a)(41), 40125, and FAA Advisory Circular 00-1.1A, Public Aircraft Operations (Feb. 12, 2014).




homeownersassociationsThe New Mexico Homeowners' Association Act made significant changes for both newly created and existing homeowners' associations and applies to all homeowners' associations in the state.

Before the Act was law, New Mexico homeowners' associations largely were unregulated organizations governed by private contracts. The associations' rules and regulations were set forth in recorded covenants, declarations and deeds, but there were no statutes or state regulations governing them. Therefore, associations could pretty much create their own rules and regulations, which new owners were responsible to learn by reviewing their real estate records. If owners had disputes relating to those rules and regulations, civil lawsuits were their principal remedy.

The two Major Changes include: 1) a disclosure certificate and 2) the Association must record a Notice of Homeowners' Association document with the county clerk.

For a consultation as to the full impact of the changes in the law for your homeowners association and what needs to be done, schedule an appointment with YOUR Taos Attorney by clicking on the contact link above.



failuretodiscloseHome Buyers Beware!

Not too long ago, a home owner purchased a home using a broker. After the sale, the homeowner discovered defects in the home that had not been disclosed prior to the sale. So, the homeowner decided to sue the seller and her broker for their failure to disclose their alleged knowledge of the defects.

Unfortunately for the homeowner, the district court granted the broker summary judgment (meaning the homeowner lost the lawsuit). However, the broker, having had to defend the action, then sued the homeowner for their attorneys fees since the real estate contract the homeowner signed provided that “should any aspect of this agreement result in a dispute, litigation, or settlement, the prevailing party shall be entitled to an award of reasonable attorney fees and court costs.”

The lesson that should be learned here is that you always want to have a competent attorney review any and all legally binding documents that you may sign before you sign it. To assist in these types of reviews, contact YOUR Taos Attorney by clicking on the Contact link above to schedule a consultation.


reportingnewhiresEmployer Responsibility for New Hires

In 1996, Congress enacted a law called the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act." This legislation created the requirement that employers in all 50 states report, within twenty days, their new hires, re-hires or re-called hires, or temporary employees to the New Mexico New Hires Directory.

For more information on what information needs to be reported, the options on how to report, etc., consult with YOUR Taos Attorney by clicking on the Contact link above.



The Manzanares Law Office is YOUR Taos Attorney for all your family and business needs including, wills & probates, real estate law, & small business consulting.


Contact Info

Manzanares Law Office
Physical: 1105 Luz del Sol
Mailing: PO Box 312
Taos, NM 87571

(575) 770-0902

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9:30 am to 4:30 pm