The U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), which 15 months ago proposed $1.9 million in civil penalties against a Chicago-based company for allegedly conducting unauthorized unmanned aircraft operations in congested airspace over New York and Chicago, has settled with the aerial photography company for $200,000, FAA announced Tuesday.
Under terms of the settlement agreement, SkyPan International will pay a $200,000 civil penalty and has agreed to pay an additional $150,000 if it violates Federal Aviation Regulations in the next year, and $150,000 more if it fails to comply with the terms of the settlement agreement, FAA said. SkyPan also agreed to work with the FAA to release three public service announcements in the next 12 months to support FAA’s public outreach campaigns that encourage drone operators to learn and comply with unmanned aircraft system (UAS) regulations, the agency said.
In October 2015, FAA proposed a $1.9 million civil penalty against SkyPan, alleging that 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 alleged unauthorized commercial UAS flights were over various locations in New York City and Chicago and involved aerial photography, FAA said. Forty-three of the flights were operated in New York Class B airspace without receiving an air traffic control clearance to access the airspace, and the aircraft was not equipped with a two-way radio, transponder and altitude reporting equipment, FAA said.