Isabella | UAV Coach

FAA Issues Drone Pilot $20K Fine

Recommended Posts

The FAA has fined a drone pilot $20,000 for multiple violations, including imposing a hazard to other aircraft when his flyaway DJI Phantom 3 drone landed at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas, NV.

Watch the video: Drone Pilot Fined $20,000 For Landing Drone at McCarran Airport, Las Vegas

Burciaga failed to pay the fine on time because he said he couldn't afford it. Do you think the fine was too high, or was the FAA justified in issuing the $20,000 penalty for his reckless drone operation? Chime in in the comments below. 

Is the FAA cracking down on regulations? In 2016, they had only issued about 20 penalties according to data obtained by VICE through the Freedom of Information Act. In 2018, the total number of penalties issued had increased to about 50 according to the U.S. Government Accountability Office report. Over the course of two years, that's not a large increase. 

But, the FAA is taking action to enforce drone regulations by increasing surveillance and updating registration requirements. 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The only reason the FAA probably even knew about this is because the secret service recovered the drone and turned it over to the FBI.  Doh!  

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple of thoughts:  My flight software would warn me, and perhaps not allow me to fly where this flight seems to have happened.  I know I can override the software which would make me totally responsible.  And, the Video does not seem to represent a flyaway!  My flyaway video is dramatic, fast, and obviously out of control. 
So, yes, the pilot seems to be responsible, and I’ll leave it up to others to figure out if the fine is fair.  But yes, the pilot should be held accountable. 

We, pilots, of recreational or Civil UAs, need to be responsible, be accountable, and keep the privileges of flying UA.  This type of incident can slant public opinion to restrict our use of airspace. 
 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The FAA is Chicken Little. I believe I did not see any activity on the runways as the UAV flew by. The FAA has the audacity to claim NAS 1" above the ground as told to me by an FAA agent. How arrogant! It's interesting the FAA doesn't require a license or tail numbers for ultra lights. It would appear the FAA has Chicken Little Syndrome.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

This was flagrant stupidity, the rules are so clear and if you fly over restricted areas you get nailed.  I don't understand why they returned his drone to him and I do not believe the fly away claim.  They should have nailed him a lot harder and he should be banned from ever flying any aircraft be it drone or otherwise.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry, but even in the ten minutes of controlled flight, he was in violation of several rules the rest of us have to follow. (Unless he got a waiver for BLOS and Flying Over People.)  And to say "I didn't see any activity on the runways..." is like saying, "Oh, I fired a gun at the highway, but traffic was light." The moment he realized he had a flyaway, he could have (should have!!!) contacted authorities, notified them of the system failure, given information about location, altitude, heading, and drift, etc. They would have shut down the airport. These actions might have saved lives, AND, might have saved him from some of the fines. I fly near a military base all the time, with permission, and when I'm in the air, with my tiny little drone, they shut down operations on the base. I asked why they would shut down operations on a huge naval air station, because I was flying in a very small area at < 400' (where their floor is 1000'), and the answer was because of potential flyaways. At all times, safety for manned aircraft is paramount. I'm grateful when I'm given permission to fly in restricted airspace, and I try to follow the rules. I've been a 107 pilot since the start, and I'd like to keep my license and ability to work. This guy didn't Cowboy Up, the moment he lost control, and deserves what he gets. ¶¶¶ About that losing control: we don't have details about that. He didn't implement RTH procedures? The Phantom just wasn't responding? He had video signal. Some weird unknowns here.  ¶¶¶ And, did he check for NOTAMS and TFRs beforehand? Presidential TFRs can have as great as a 30 NM radius. We don't have those details. I think the article said he was four miles from the airport. ¶¶¶ Anyway, no sympathy for him... not from me. 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Considering the gravity of his multiple offenses, including flying in a TFR with the president of the United States in the area, and that he could have been responsible for the lives of hundreds (thank God that didn't happen), I think the penalty is light, indeed.

I'm for access to all, but uneducated, incompetent (I'm assuming he had no "intention" of causing harm) drone operators can be deadly.

It's my opinion EVERY pilot, at a minimum, should be required to pass 107 - much like every driver on the road has to meet minimum education and practical levels.

It's people like him who muddy the waters for responsible pilots, too, in public perception.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

He should follow the rules. If he doesn’t know them, he should not be able to fly. People who disregard basic rules like don’t fly over people and do a flight plan before getting up in the air, it ruins it for everyone who is a responsible pilot and that behavior puts lives at risk. He should have situational awareness and known how close he was to an airport and the president. Flyaways should be planned for like defensive driving.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where he started from is less than 2 miles from the airport. Flying drones over the LAS strip has been banned for sometime. Even if there are no airliners involved, there are sight seeing helicopters flying around the airport and the strip all the time.

Because of the large number of tourists and the scenery, if flying drones on the strip was allowed, you'd see them all the time. The lack of any other drones in the area might have been a good clue that maybe he shouldn't fly there. Common sense should have told him that flying a drone in that area was a bad idea.

Common sense should have told him that not responding to the FAA violation notices was also not a good idea.

However, the FAA should have made him come to them to get his drone back.

This is why the UK is requiring anyone who wants to fly a drone (i.e. R/C model) to pass a knowledge test (don't know how they will enforce it though).

Edited by ssobol

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/4/2019 at 1:08 AM, Av8Chuck said:

The only reason the FAA probably even knew about this is because the secret service recovered the drone and turned it over to the FBI.  Doh!  

 

 

You missed the part where it says the drone was recovered by airport officials.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It seems that this guy was going for the Guinness Record to see how many violations he could get in one flight.  Improper registration number/flying less than 83 feet over private property without owner's permission (he barely cleared a few of the rooftops/flying over people without a waiver/flying within 5 miles of an airport without permission/not reporting the loss of the drone when he knew it was within 5 miles of the airport/and the ultimate one FLYING IN A TFR while the president was there.  And just to confirm how stupid he was, he didn't pay the fine or file an appeal in time, raising the fine another $5,000.  He's a disgrace to the drone community.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, danbedlam said:

number/flying less than 83 feet over private property without owner's permission

We don’t have that requirement in the US.  

Clealy this operator didn’t know what they were doing.  Like most things in aviation, bad things happen as a result of earlier bad decisions.  When things go wrong they tend to snowball quickly.  

Most hobbyist have no idea of how to check NOTAMS and what a TFR is.  Obviously this should not have happened, but if fining this guy $20K is the FAA making an example of him then it’s probably not a good thing to do.  Personally I don’t care about what happens to some unfortunate hobbyist.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! Expensive lesson to learn when you don't follow the rules. I am relatively new to the drone world, been flying since September. I am curious on how one is able to take off when POTUS was there? When He was at an airport 20 miles from my area I couldn't even take off. Sucks to be this guy, but should have known better, it's people like this that ruin things for people who try to follow all the rules and regulations. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.