January 19, 2017 oggitomic

FAA Fines Chicago Drone Operator £163,000 Over Illegal Flights

A drone photography company that was the subject of the highest-profile attempt by a U.S. regulator to enforce aviation law on unmanned aircraft has agreed to pay a £163,000 fine to settle a 2015 case. SkyPan International Inc., whose website still features aerial photos of urban areas where drone flights are prohibited without special permission, had made 65 flights from 2012 to 2014 in airspace above cities including New York, the Federal Aviation Administration said Tuesday in a release. The company also agreed to pay as much as £244,659 more if it violates the agreements it reached with the FAA, according to the release. SkyPan will work with the agency to create three public service announcements in the next year, the release said. The settlement reduced a £1.5m penalty that FAA had originally proposed when it brought the case in October 2015. The company had used drones to photograph the prospective views from high rises under construction in Manhattan, according to its website. In their own statement, SkyPan is quick to point out that the settlement includes no admission or denial of wrongdoing on their end, and no official violation in the FAA’s books. “While neither admitting nor contesting the allegations that these commercial operations were contrary to FAA regulations, SkyPan wishes to resolve this matter without any further expense or delay of business,” writes the company. “In exchange [for the penalties SkyPan has agreed to pay], the FAA makes no finding of violation.” SkyPan goes on to praise the FAA’s new “Rule 107” that regulates drone operation, calling it “a flexible and forward-leaning regulatory framework that balances access, innovation, and safety.” Looks like they’re already working on those PSAs… (via Digital Trends)