Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

Skypan-FAA settlement to reshape entire drone industry.

1st August 2016

SkyPan-FAA settlement sets ground-breaking precedents for all drone pilots.

Key to the allegations against SkyPan is that they flew without proper certification and registration for the flights, lacking the permission from FAA, all whilst generating revenue from their operations. This represents a more in-depth and proactive approach by the FAA, where they may begin scouring social media and penalising content creators seen to be breaking regulations.


Furthermore it is clear a indication that recreational pilots generating revenue through posting their content on YouTube or other social media platforms should now be applying for the Section 107’s if they will be generating any form of revenue.

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SkyPan’s flights are considered by the FAA to have endangered US airspace and breached aircraft operation rules on 65 flights between March 2012 and December 2014.  Each of which SkyPan disputed, pointing out that their flights took place before FAA regulations were in place between 2012 and 2014 and due to their diligence and unique experience as pioneers of the industry, never endangered persons or other aircraft. 


Key to the allegations against SkyPan is that they flew without proper certification and registration for the flights, lacking the permission from FAA, all whilst generating revenue from their operations. This represents a more in-depth and proactive approach by the FAA, where they may begin scouring social media and penalising content creators seen to be breaking regulations. 


Furthermore it is clear a indication that recreational pilots generating revenue through posting their content on YouTube or other social media platforms should now be applying for the Section 107’s if they will be generating any form of revenue. 

"This represents a more in-depth and proactive approach by the FAA"

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Media Drone Kit

The case suggests that the FAA will now act upon videos that include regulation breaches dating as far back as five years. This means content added today, could come back to bite you five years from now. Pilots must now be increasingly diligent and really consider "how safe is this flight?" before flying. 


In addition to the settlement sum, it was agreed that any further breach of FAA drone regulation by Skypan will incur further penalties, each of which would cost $150,000. SkyPan will also produce three awareness raising public service announcements over the next 12 months to help educate and encourage safety conscious flying by commercial operators and the hobbyists.


It should be made clear that the FAA made no finding of violation, with SkyPan stating: "SkyPan has never had an accident”. They added "SkyPan continues to strive to maintain the utmost levels of safety, security, and privacy protection in its operations."

"Content added today, could come back to bite you five years from now."


Will we begin to see an increase of cases where the FAA hold both commercial pilots, as well as hobbiest pilots, to account? 


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