• Feds Slap Company With Million Dollar Fine Over Drones

    The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has slapped a Chicago drone manufacturer with the largest fine from the agency against an unmanned aircraft operator.

    On Oct. 6, SkyPan International was hit with a $1.9 million civil penalty for conducting illegal operations and “endangering the safety of our airspace.”

    In a released statement, FAA administrator Michael Huerta said that operating “unmanned aircraft in violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations is illegal and can be dangerous.”

    According to the FAA, SkyPan allegedly made 65 flights between New York City and Chicago, all of which were unauthorized. The flights occurred between March 21, 2012, and Dec. 15, 2014.

    In addition to the illegal flights, the FAA said SkyPan lacked specific equipment and the proper paperwork for those flights. SkyPan was missing a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization, an airworthiness certificate, and effective registration. It also did not have a two-way radio, transponder, nor altitude-reporting equipment on board.

    “We have the safest airspace in the world, and everyone who uses it must understand and observe our comprehensive set of rules and regulations,” said Huerta.

    On Dec. 22, 2014, SkyPan applied for and received an exemption from the FAA. The penalty, however, is applied retroactively.

    Spokesman Mark Segal, in a response to The Daily Caller News Foundation, wrote “SkyPan has been conducting aerial photography above private property in urban areas for 27 years in full compliance with published FAA regulations. SkyPan is fully insured and proud of its impeccable record of protecting the public’s safety, security and privacy. Images produced by SkyPan have been used to sell or lease commercial and residential real estate throughout North America.”

    SkyPan, which specializes in using drones for aerial photography, has 30 days to respond to the FAA penalty.

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    Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact [email protected]

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