SkyPan Responds to FAA $1.9 Million Dollar Civil Penalty Letter on its website. SkyPan’s public relations statements are pretty cryptic. However, it appears that SkyPan’s legal arguments will include an argument that the FAA lacks authority to regulate sUAS (or most aircraft below 500 feet.
Can the FAA Regulate drones below 500 feet?
We previous posted about the SkyPan FAA enforcement / civil penalty letter and the specific aviation regulations at issue here and here. We break down the FAA’s enforcement history against SkyPan and SkyPan’s response to the FAA in the video below.
A $1.9 Million dollar suggested FAA fine for unlawful drone operation without a Section 333 requires a legal response, if for no other reason, negotiation leverage. However, the size of the fine could suggest a full legal challenge. While the Pinker case challenged whether a drone was an ‘aircraft’ under federal aviation regulations, SkyPan appears to be ready to argue something almost as dramatic; that the FAA has not authority to regulate sUAS flying below a certain altitude (depending on airspace) and outside the landing or take off flight path to and from airports.
What to read the FAA subpoenas to SkyPan and SkyPan’s customers?