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FAA Proposes $1.9 Million Civil Penalty Against SkyPan International for Allegedly Unauthorized Unmanned Aircraft Operations

The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) today announces the largest civil penalty the FAA has proposed against a UAS operator for endangering the safety of our airspace. ( More...

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Full disclosure, I own a drone, and am working towards the 333 exemption while completing private pilot licensing. However, I support this 110%, unless you have aeronautical knowledge, you have no business flying one of these, especially in congested airspace. As much as I'm against the guvmint creating a nanny state, we need regulations for this. I own a DJI Phantom 3 Pro, I'm not going to jeopardize a $1,500 piece of plastic, let alone the lives of hundreds, or thousands of people. The problem are those who can go buy one for $100, fly it, wherever because there isn't an integrated app that won't allow you to take off in no fly zones in cities and around major airports. If you want to operate it as a business, you need some skin in the game with licensing, training and such. If you don't follow the rules, BOOM, $1.9 million please.
Jason Feldman 4
amen brother, totally agree.

If they want to use a drone, they must at least understand airspace they operate in, and must have the same equipment as any other operator using that airspace as well.

I have seen more and more drones, often very close to ORD and PWK, over congested areas, over open assemblies of people, in firework shows, at concerts, hovering around high rise apartments probably spying on people getting dressed....

I think drones are a lot of fun, but it's gotten way out of control. On youtube people are openly posting flights climbing through clouds to "VFR on Top" hovering.... all around airports... it's just a matter of time until one of the heavier ones that has a Sony F55, Alexa, or Red Epic comes through the windscreen and kills a pilot, or turns an engine into a camera grinder.. with camera+gear well over 35 pounds with dense metal parts... yeah, something really bad is gonna happen some day, I hope not, but the "big sky" philosophy has been proven not to work
JohnTownsley 2
Agree with Anthony. I see no difference between this fine (which I would say was still low considering the multiple violations) and fines levied against air carriers or air taxi operators for safety and regulatory violations. I hope we see more and continued vigorous enforcement actions taken against the UAS cowboys and cowgirls who are clearly pushing the envelope. The tension between the rule of law and the attraction of MONEY could never be more evident.
Bill Osborne 6
There are rules and those who abuse them. Close SkyPan down!
electroman00 1
electroman00 0
Yeah Let's shut them down, SkyPan one of the first companies on the leading edge of a new industry.

Yeah Let's shut those Wright Brothers down, it's to dangerous for man to fly like a bird.

If man was suppose to fly like a bird, God would have given him wings.

As we can see, there were jerks then and now.!!

jerk = a contemptibly obnoxious person

The Wright Brothers broke a lot of rules, thankfully so..!!

Sorry if you can't see...the beauty of SkyPan, the beauty of the Wright Brothers.

The beauty of Nature all around YOU every breath you take.

electroman00 0
Here's why Nature is important....

Now a days you see all commercial aircraft with look at this photo...

Nature already had a handle on it.

If you want answers to really important questions, look to nature, more then likely already answered.

A perfect frame, perfect power, perfect covering, perfect wing, perfect computer, perfect flight.

It's hard to beat perfection..!!
Bill Osborne 1
Electroman00, Drones can collide with other aircraft.. The Wright brothers did not have that problem. People who fly drones without regard for the regulations should be punished severely. Grow up!
electroman00 1
I've already glorified your first response as idiotic, I'm not even going to bother with this one.

As of right now the are no rules and regulations, that's why there is 333 exemption, nothing is in stone as of now.

Skypan has 30 days to appeal, at which time they will ask for a dismissal, the FAA will walk away or make a point of something pointless and cost tax payers millions.

The FAA $1.9M was for people like you, **all show**, to prove to you they are doing something, when in fact they have dropped the Drone ball for the better part of 5 years and some will say longer.

They didn't have a senate hearing for fun and nothing.
It was to find out why the FAA after 5 years+++ can't take on more issues under the conservative sequestration.
A.K.A Lack of additional FUNDING.
What the FAA did was take GA rules,change the heading to Drones, here's an exemption and said follow these until we figure it all out.
Follow these meant big big big $$$$$ that were in most cases not applicable.

Based on that, how do you, I quote you, "punished severely"...
You don't, because you can't, at least not in a court of law.

Then FAA didn't even pick up the phone and call, anyone to solicit input, to help expedite rule making which became obvious in the hearings to anyone with a brain.

They never even spoke to the premier organization, the AMA, where by they already have setup drone training flight sites as well as thousands of members.
They never called Skypan to have a meet, an organization that could undoubtedly offer TONS of regulation input.
The mentality was to punished severely in an mass glitter effort of, don't look at us (FAA) look at them (Skypan).

And you fall for the SCAM.

Now if you'll just send me $2000 I'll send you my Bentley title.!!

Bottom line is, We call all that BULLSheet.

And the bottom line reason for it is, there are always people out there trying to cripple GOVERNMENT.

Mr Bill Osborne...
Your first 2 statements are bullpoop blather preping for the 3rd statement of bullpoop blather.

Obviously you know little about laws, regulations, exemptions and legal engine mechanics and/or procedures.

You have had two post of wonderful blather, nothing to offer...
I'm not the one that needs to Grow Up young boy.!!

Anyone that chants "Shut'em Down" without any information or knowledge is an idiot, jerk, dumbass or whatever is fitting. So if the shoe fits....

But that's how we make responsible and important decisions these days in America.

No conversations of FACT, just tons of BLOG blather statements, for post count points...

If you're not able to learn and change mental aroma, I can assure you that Mother Nature will deal with you, the same way she deals with all inflexible species, she banishes them from the earth.

You have a good day...
That should get somebody's attention. But it probably won't. Most are just like the pinheads with the lazers.
patrick baker 1
all these respondents who have noted no one has been killed by collision with a drone, or by a laser being misused, miss the greater point. Do we have to wait until such a event occurs , then wring our hands , then legislate against it, with the threat of FAA fines? You got to be a moron not so see and appreciate the clear and present danger. Federal regulations with enforcement measured in dollar fines and jail time ought to make the point . You can't legislate common sense, but you can fine people who do not exibit it as they harm others.Drones have not a place anywhere near landing and takeoff operations.
I agree. Coming from a family in the airline industry, PanAm, Delta and Southwest, and myself that travels most of the year, I totally agree. I to own a Phantom 3 Pro and am waiting on my exemption from the FAA. These people that are flying carelessly, have got to be stopped. People do not understand that the thrill, is not worth the danger it could cause.
electroman00 0
The FAA also made two other changes to the Section 333 exemption process in the last few months:

The agency now allows operations under these exemptions by people who hold a recreational or sport pilot certificate. Previously, Section 333 operators were required to have at least a private pilot certificate. The newly added certificates are easier to obtain, and therefore less costly, than a private pilot certificate.

**** There Needs to be a specific Drone pilot certificate, with type ratings based on prop size, num of props and weight etc.

Basically everything the FAA has for Pilots now, scaled down for drones.

A third class medical certificate is no longer required. Now, a Section 333 operator only needs a valid driver’s license to satisfy the medical requirement.
This change is consistent with the agency’s approach for sport pilot certificate holders, who may fly light sport aircraft with a driver’s license and no FAA medical certificate.

*** All pilots should have required medical certs...period, I do not agree with any exemptions.
You must be mentally and physically fit to fly anything above 500 ft...period. JMO

Just for staRTERS
electroman00 0
Notice quoted lines...

"The problem are those who can go buy one for $100, fly it, wherever because there isn't an integrated app that won't allow you to take off in no fly zones in cities and around major airports."

Anyone with a modicum of drone experience and knowledge knows a $100 drone will not do any damage to a aircraft...nada nothing..!!

"If you want to operate it as a business, you need some skin in the game with licensing, training and such. If you don't follow the rules, BOOM, $1.9 million please."

Spoken like a true conservative or liberal, hard to tell...aka politician aka juvenal delinquent.

JFYI FAA does not have jurisdiction to levy the 1.9 million fine, so likely be dismissed.

But it does make a big media splash for intellectually desert dry sponges to soak up.!

We now have One wet sponge..!

Never the less, lawyers fees can be a mighty big pimple to pop.!

"333 exemption while completing private pilot licensing."

Nothing like the newly gota luv'em..!!

Don't worry though, in 40 years you'll look back and read your words and laugh as I am now.
In 100 years nobody will care at all as they fly around in their hover vehicles powered by fossil fuels.

"an integrated app that won't allow you to take off in no fly zones in cities and around major airports."

Guess your training hasn't arrived at ADS-B where 2020 all aircraft will be required and more then likely drones as well. Consider the fact that the ADS-B receiver chip costs less then .03 cents retail to produce, so it's not long before capable drones will fly with them on-board. Your DJI already has altimeter and gps so the additional cost of less then a $1 won't make you squeal like a pig.
Then onboard FIRMWARE (a.k.a. APP) will allow drones to fly within specific distances of all aircraft i.e. 1000ft which you should have learned in your training.

But be careful what you wish for...

If your ADS-B DJI needs the FAA's Blessing, your $1500 DJI just might cost $15,000 due to eng, testing, approvals, and liability insurance.

Thus knocking most out of the skin game.!!

And your wish will then, have come true.

At some point, rational thinking (inclusive of real data & analysis) should overcome emotions, at least that's what we hope for in the Aviation Community.

Educate before Pontificate (talk pompous manner)

Just one more thing, you may not see the issue with the statement below.

"private pilot licensing"

Buzzer sound goes here...

FAA does not license Pilots.
Ask any pilot for his card, old or new and read it..!!
Or read my posts very carefully.

Nothing like the newly gota luv'em..!!
electroman00 -2
I think you all are falling for the congressional bullshit. I'm a certified pilot for 38+ years.

Think about it, they want you and your kids to register the drone, take a class, pass a test so you can fly your drone.
Not one single person has been injured or killed in any accident by a aircraft of any type and a drone by any civilian to date. Manufacturers work to make them as safe as possible and are working and willing to continue to do so.

On the other hand there are manufacturers that by design make their product deadly and unsafe and have proliferated them around the globe and not a one is required to be registered or insured, user to prove competency and all you need is cash or credit to buy one.

Have you guessed what that product is..!!

Car ?
Boat ?
Plane ?
Motorcycle ?
Drone ?

Nope...just a Gun..!!
JFYI In this week 11 folk were killed by guns in the news, not one killed by a drone..!!

And your more then willing to have someone give you a rectal exam before you fly your drones.

Ok...I got it..!!

Of course the simple solution is beyond congress and everyone here..!!

******** These people that are flying carelessly, have got to be stopped.

Yeah...let's kill that 12 year old now before he becomes a dronner.!!


******** People do not understand that the thrill, is not worth the danger it could cause. have some evidence up your sleeve do ya.??

You have some turbine ingestion reports showing how your Phantom 3 Pro can take down a Commercial Aircraft, you know like something comparable to a lets say a Canadian Goosie.

I guess we need to get those mean nasty Canadian Goosie to register and take tests and pay fees to Bigger Stupid Government.

If a drone takes down a Commercial Aircraft, I think we first need to look at the aircraft because it's suppose to fly with one engine out...da.!!

Then some turbine ingestion reports showing how your Phantom 3 Pro tastes.

Your opinions are well noted, however rational thinking brains need to prevail, or your 12 year old is going to be pissed.
Along with me, a bigger drone boy..!!
I watched the Congressional Hearings the other day, I'll sum it up in one word...BULLSHIT..!!

Never the less I'll grease the sphincter when the time comes so I can have some JOY..!!

That's Joy like in both ways, sphincter and droning.!!

oooh baby..!!
JohnTownsley 0
electroman00 -1
Bet you were up all night, to arrive at that solution...

BTW Troll is spelled with 2 l's not 3


Never the less we get it, however it's not necessary to post it about yourself..!!
Tiggerflute 1
I respect your right to your opinions, some of which are well taken. And I particularly like the link to the eagle. I thought of those birds the first time I saw winglets. I imagine that's where aeronautical engineers got the idea.

I'm only writing the following because of your obvious sarcasm and hostility toward fellow contributors:

If you want to correct someone's spelling----3 lll's is clearly a "typo", not a misspelling. You might want to take some spelling lessons yourself. Why don't you start with "laser" as opposed to "lazer", followed by "too" (where you write "to dangerous"), "you're" (where you write "your more than willing", etc.
Then you might proceed with your punctuation and grammar.
My point: why the unnecessary insult? It's hard to sort out your good points amidst all the hyperbole.
electroman00 1
The laser line was a copy and paste.

"you're" (where you write "your more than willing" <<< Thanks well noted...

"My point: why the unnecessary insult? " <<< To who?

Guess you don't think interjecting Troll is an insult then.

Martha...My point to you: why the unnecessary insult?

" It's hard to sort out your good points amidst all the hyperbole."

Sorry if I made you think to much.

Now do you have something to interject that might make someone emotional at least...

If you want a pat on the back, might want to do something more the putting whip cream on a troll.
Not me...
Sorry again if I made you think to much.
lynx318 1
The extra l is for loser.
electroman00 1
So your claiming to be a looser as well...well good...I support your findings...LOOSER.

Now do you have something of value...or your're just going to bless us all with looser troll banter??!!
electroman00 -3
**** "Most are just like the pinheads with the lazers."

You fell for that one too...!!

Do you do any rational thinking on your own.!!

As a Pilot I tested it so I would know how to deal with the problem.

Go buy one of those lazers, aim it at a 3 inch circle 200 ft away, then when your done, do some math.
You would find it to be extremely difficult and lucky to keep it inside the circle for 100 milli seconds.

It's called Geometry.!

Then calc for 1000-1500 ft away at minimum for aircraft.

Then add into the target and tracking equation aircraft speed, you might begin to understand the word impossible, because most angular scenarios it's just that, impossible.

Here's the funny part, I pointed the lazer at my eye from arms length for one second, I can still fly.

BTW I don't recommend doing it, I did it to make sure I could still fly.

When the lazer is targeted 1000 ft ++ away.... the beam expands and beam intensity drops off.
The type of lazer that would in fact do harm to a pilot to the point that he cannot fly, you can't afford to buy nor is it sold in stores.

IOW You have a 10 times greater risk of being blinded by a wing tip strobe then a lazer...da.!!

Pilots these days are reporting all kinds of stuff, balloons, lazer, drones, ufo's and the Oct 31st Witch on a Broom and lets not forget the Tooth Fairy.
None of witch has resulted in a aviation death.

We the people can authorize spending to deal with these sightings, or we can spend the money on a minor issue like keeping sicko's out of the fuselage.
Pilot's and Passengers alike, since we have recorded deaths in this minor area of fact 9/11..!!

Realize lazer and drone fear mongers are the same folk that made you believe that cell phones were dangerous in any plane.

Oh yes...the deaths from cell phones are mounting by the Centuries.
Last Century = 0 This Century = 0

The deaths from lazers are mounting by the Centuries as well.
Last Century = 0 This Century = 0

The deaths from Tooth Fairy are mounting by the Centuries.
Last Century = 0 This Century = 0

The deaths from Mentally Ill Pilot's and Passengers are mounting by the Centuries.

I don't have the current numbers, but it's a lot.

So the correct statement is...

Anyone that believes an affordable lazer could disable a a pinhead.
You just accept what people say without any analysis what so ever.
JohnTownsley 1
Question answered. Troll!


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