FAA Wants To Fine Drone Operator Almost $2 Million

Steve Guest Media Reporter
Font Size:

The FAA announced Tuesday a record $1.9 million fine against SkyPan International Inc. for flying drones in New York and Chicago.

According to the FAA, SkyPan flew 65 unauthorized flights between March 2012 and December 2014 of which, 43 were flown in New York.

Previously, the largest fine for a drone operator was $18,700 against Xizmo Media.

In comments made to the Associated Press, Karl Brewick, a SkyPan production coordinator, said the company had not had a chance to review the fine and declined to comment further. SkyPan has 30 days to respond to the FAA.

FAA spokesman Les Dorr said one reason SkyPan is being fined so much money is because FAA asked the company to stop making the flights but they continued unabated.

According to the FAA, there are daily reports of drones flying in the vicinity of airports and airplanes. The FAA said that between November 2014 and August 2015, there were over 700 reports by pilots of drone sightings. However, that number may be inaccurate because some of those “drones” may have actually been birds.

Federal law allows hobbyists to fly drones as long as they stay five miles away from an airport and fly no higher than 400 feet. Over 1,700 permits to commercial operators have been granted. (RELATED: Video Shows Firefighters Blast Drone With Water Hose)

Follow Steve on Twitter

h/t Associated Press