FAA Charges $182,000 Fine Against Drone Pilot
Drone2 Jakub Han.jpg

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) proposed a hefty $ 182,000 fine on a single drone pilot earlier this year. The large sum is the result of at least 26 flights in the Philadelphia area from December 2019 to August 2020. The pilot violated several laws on each flight and provided evidence against himself by uploading videos of flight information to YouTube.

Operating a UAV is a relatively large responsibility. A drone is just a technology that can fail and hit someone / something. Collisions with other flying objects are also no exception. The drone industry has boomed in recent years as the devices became more affordable and more powerful. More drones in the sky mean more problems. You may still remember the drone sightings that grounded Gatwick Airport two years ago. Legislation must respond clearly. In the EU there will be new rules for drones from January 1, 2021. The FAA in the US is also bringing new rules for remote ID and human and nighttime flying.

The problem is that there are still a lot of people who don't respect the law. An example could be a 2017 case that resulted in a $ 200,000 fine for Skypan International. Earlier this year, the FAA proposed a $ 182,000 fine on a drone pilot. What happened?

Fine of $ 182,000 from the FAA

Why so much? The law firm Rupprecht, which specializes in drone laws, received a copy of the proposed penal letter from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). They write that from December 2019 to August 2020, the affected pilot broke FAA rules with at least 26 illegal flights in the Philadelphia area.

Seal of the Federal Aviation Administration. Source: FAA

The FAA also previously contacted the pilot with warning letters and suggestions for advice and education regarding the requirements for the safe operation of a sUAS (Small Unmanned Aircraft System) under the Federal Aviation Regulations.

Interestingly, the pilot posted a large number of videos on YouTube to give the FAA enough evidence against himself. There it shows screenshots of the ground control station with information such as altitude, distance of the drone from the pilot, position on a map, direction of flight and more.

Based on this information, the FAA found that the pilot flew multiple times in restricted airspace, at night and in unsuitable weather conditions. Some flights were very close to buildings and other structures and again violated multiple laws at the same time. In addition, the pilot lost control of the aircraft at least twice. Eventually the FAA found that he did not have a remote pilot certificate.

Photo credit: Jakub Han, CineD

This case shows that the FAA has many resources to look to in order to determine if a drone flight violation has occurred. Most of these resources also allow public access – the Rupprecht Act contains many useful links on this case in its article.

Are you flying a drone? What do you think of all the restrictions on operating a UAV? Let us know in the comments below the article.

Source: Rupprecht Law P.A.


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