The FAA says it is the largest civil penalty the agency has ever proposed against the operator of a drone.
Lawmakers have recently been looking to crackdown on illegal use of drones.
SkyPan mostly operated its flight while the FAA was still working on clarifying its exemption process.
The FAA is working on formalizing national regulations for drone use, however the administration missed a deadline of September 30 and final rules are now expected to come no sooner than next year.
According to the FAA, 43 of the flights were performed in Class B airspace in New York City without air traffic control clearance, and the aircraft operators in question were not equipped with a two-way radio, nor did the aircraft have transponders and altitude-reporting equipment.
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US prosecutors say former United Nations General Assembly President John Ashe took more than $500,000 in bribes from a Chinese real estate mogul and other businesspeople.
In any case, it’s worth noting SkyPan’s history with the FAA.
FAA officials have said they are receiving multiple reports daily of drones flying in the vicinity of airports and airplanes. “The Order is arbitrary, capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law, in excess of statutory jurisdiction, authority, or limitations, and without observance of procedure required by law”.
While proposed regulations unveiled in February would allow broader use of commercial drones, flights like the ones SkyPan allegedly made wouldn’t be permitted. In its petition for permission, SkyPan noted that it regularly flies in cities. The flights are typically over dirt, grass or paved lots to show high-rise views that assist developers with design plans for new buildings, according to the application. “SkyPan’s flights are considered straight up/straight down; the vehicle ascends straight up over private property, has the capability of hovering in place, and then descends straight down”.
In addition, SkyPan did not have a Certificate of Waiver or Authorization for the operations.