FAA and SkyPan International Reach Settlement on Unapproved UAS Operations.

On January 17, 2017, the FAA announced that it had entered into a settlement agreement with Chicago-based SkyPan International, Inc., stemming from a $1.9 million notice of proposed civil penalty issued against SkyPan in October 2015, following 65 allegedly unauthorized commercial drone flights involving aerial photography, including 43 of which were allegedly conducted in highly restricted Class B New York airspace.  Under the terms of the settlement agreement, SkyPan will pay a civil penalty of $200,000 and, if it violates Federal Aviation Regulations in the next year, a further $150,000.  SkyPan also has agreed to release public service announcements over the next year “to support the FAA’s public outreach campaigns that encourage drone operators to learn and comply with UAS regulations.”  The final civil penalty assessed against SkyPan is the largest FAA fine levied against a UAS operator.