If you’re a hobbyist looking to get into drone flying for fun, maybe just to snap some photos and shoot some video, you might want to do some research on places where you are allowed to fly. If you don’t, you could end up like drone film company SkyPan who could be facing a fine of a whopping $1.9 million for allegedly operating in airspaces without proper authorization.
The fine is being proposed by the FAA who wrote, “Between March 21, 2012, and Dec. 15, 2014, SkyPan conducted 65 unauthorized operations in some of our most congested airspace and heavily populated cities, violating airspace regulations and various operating rules, the FAA alleges. These operations were illegal and not without risk.”
The FAA alleges that SkyPan conducted 65 operations over New York city and Chicago and it involved aerial photography. Out of those 65 operations, 43 of those were in highly restricted New York Class B airspace in which FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said, “Flying unmanned aircraft in violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations is illegal and can be dangerous.”
The jury is still out regarding drones as there are still laws being crafted around its use. Previously we had seen how drones could potentially interfere with rescue work, resulting in a bill being passed that lets firefighters ground drones that are in their way. Assuming the fine sticks, no doubt this will send a pretty strong message to would-be drone filmmakers.