Perhaps because of the requisite remote control making it look and feel like a toy, for some reason people seem to think that drones are just toys. Not that they can’t be a ton of fun — it is just that they can really screw up the already complicated and difficult to understand airspace above our heads.
Consider then the following points:
- The FAA has incredibly detailed and complex regulations governing every aspect of flight, right down to the toilets in the lavatory and the screws securing the overhead bins
- The FAA has been very vocal about its intent to regulate both recreational and commercial drone operations
- You don’t mess with the FAA
I learned this last point firsthand during the ground school portion of my flight training prior to earning my private pilot license. And now it seems that a prominent commercial drone photography operator is learning that lesson as well, according to Digital Trends:
A Chicago-based company that specializes in aerial photography using drones has agreed to pay a $200,000 penalty to settle a case brought by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which had accused it of violating aviation regulations. The figure was a significant reduction on the colossal $1.9 million the FAA had originally proposed.
The company, SkyPan, will also have to hand over an additional $150,000 if it breaks FAA rules in the next year, and another $150,000 if it fails to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement.
The flights at the center of the dispute took place over Chicago and New York City between 2012 and 2014.