Back in 2015, the FAA had proposed a fine of $1.9 million. According to the FAA’s allegations at the time, SkyPan International flew 65 “unauthorized operations” between March 2012 and December 2014. Of those, approximately two-thirds were in the New York Class B airspace, the highly congested areas over the city.
“Flying unmanned aircraft in violation of the Federal Aviation Regulations is illegal and can be dangerous,” FAA Administrator Michael Huerta said in an October 2015 statement. “We have the safest airspace in the world, and everyone who uses it must understand and observe our comprehensive set of rules and regulations.”
In 2013, the FAA asked a court to enforce a subpoena against SkyPan; the agency wanted SkyPan to provide records for some of its New York City flights. In a court filing the following year, SkyPan described itself as having “one full-time employee.” This legal action was eventually dismissed in March 2015 after SkyPan complied.
In its own Tuesday statement, SkyPan admitted no wrongdoing and said that it seeks to “maintain the utmost levels of safety, security, and privacy protection in its operations.”
The company continued:
“To that end, [SkyPan] is pleased to join with the FAA to promote compliance with safety regulations governing UAS operations. All pilots—those operating both manned and unmanned aircraft—have a fundamental responsibility to abide by FAA’s regulations to assure a single set of operational allowances and restrictions that may protect the flying public, as well as people and property on the ground.”