FAA Proposes Record $1.9 Million Fine of Chicago Company for Unauthorized Drone Flights
SkyPan International Inc. is accused of flying 65 unauthorized flights between March 2012 and December 2014.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Federal Aviation Administration announced on Tuesday it has proposed a record $1.9 million fine against an aerial photography company for flying drones in crowded New York and Chicago airspace without permission.
According to the FAA, SkyPan International Inc. of Chicago conducted 65 unauthorized flights between March 2012 and December 2014 without clearance from air traffic control. In fact, 43 of those flights were in Class B New York airspace, which is a heavily restricted airspace. Class B airspace is from the ground up to 10,000 feet in altitude and within a 40-mile radius from an airport.
The previous largest fine for drone operations was $18,700 against New York video production company Xizmo Media, according to the FAA.
SkyPan International is accused of operating the drones “in a careless or reckless manner so as to endanger lives or property.”
“We have the safest airspace in the world,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, “and everyone who uses it must understand and observe our comprehensive set of rules and regulations.”
Additionally, the drones did not have a two-way radio, transponder or altitude-reporting equipment required of manned aircraft.
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