There's little point in spilling more digital ink here about the FAA's lack of clear drone guidelines. More interesting is the process the FAA used to fine SkyPan and what it may mean for the rest of the countless drone business owners who are operating on the margins of legality.
"They're trying to make an example out of the irresponsible fliers"
This subpoena started a long legal back-and-forth between SkyPan and the FAA that played out in Illinois District Court. SkyPan claimed that the FAA was asking for documents it already obtained from Macklowe and thus shouldn't have to comply with the subpoena. SkyPan also said it had already sufficiently coordinated with the FAA. During 2012 and 2013, FAA officials and SkyPan had several face-to-face meetings and calls in which the company says it discussed its drone's safety features and discussed the FAA's confusing drone regulatory structure."My client is regularly and voluntarily in touch with the FAA's UAS division in Washington, DC, which should by itself obviate the need for [the FAA] to separately investigate," SkyPan's lawyer wrote in response to the subpoena.
The FAA now appears to be trying to levy fines for an investigation it previously considered 'closed'