The video below was shot by some deck builders in Washington State to show off a very nice deck they were building. They did it for fun but there’s no reason aerial video could not be used to promote the business or replace activities formerly done with ladders and staging. Need to survey the condition of the flashing and cap on a very high chimney? How about a church steeple or difficult-to-access parts of tall buildings? Ladders and staging are one way; a drone is another—and will get you close faster, more safely, and with a video recording of what you have seen.

Before you get all excited and run out to buy one of these rigs, be aware that the FAA claims legal authority over everything above ground-level—even on private property. The agency is in the process of formulating rules for the use of the small (under 55-pound) UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles) known as drones. Thus far there has been little enforcement against private operators but there are instances of people who fly drones commercially (to sell photos and video) being fined as much as $10,000.

My recommendation: watch this because it’s cool and not because you plan to do it, and hope the FAA comes to its senses.