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Multiple Drone Flyers Busted by FAA

If you got a Drone for Christmas, you should be cautious about how you fly it because there are restrictions on what you can and cannot do with it, as well as where you may fly it. The consequences of not knowing these rules can be severe. We were able to obtain the FAA enforcement actions from 2012 to 2020. My intern Trevor Simoneau and I had to sift through hundreds and hundreds of pages of reading. Here are a few of the outcomes.

Based on a sequence of commercial Drone flights over a period of time, one pilot was fined a stunning $1.9 million. The FAA slapped a $182,000 fine on the Philadelphia flyer case I previously discussed, as well as a $55,000 fine on the flight to honour Cecil the lion. Fines of $39,000, $18,000, $17,000, $16,000, and so on have been imposed on others.

Each Drone flight is seen as a distinct infraction, so if you fly three batteries, you’ve committed three separate offences. Furthermore, it’s uncommon to have only one violation of the rules during a single flight. The flights in several of the cases we looked at had 8-10 separate regulatory infractions. Because he travelled many flights with multiple offences occurring on each flight, one individual was able to rack up $1.9 million in fines.

What’s the first industry that comes to mind when you think of Drone? It’s all about real estate. But, before you go out and buy a Drone to do your own photography without first getting a remote pilot certificate from the FAA, keep in mind that one man in Minnesota was fined $39,700 for repeated flights, some of which were for the purpose of capturing images for real estate listings.

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