According to DroneXL news, in early November 2020, Philadelphia drone pilot Mikey received 123 infractions from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Each letter he received fined him $1,500 for various violations. The total amount in civil penalties adds up to $182,004.
The violations relate to drone videos that were live-streamed to PhillydroneLife YouTube channel from December 2019 to August 2020. The FAA has issued fines for various infractions such as flying over 400 feet, reckless flying, flying in the rain, fog, and strong winds. Mikey explains the situation in a video on OriginaldoBo’s Youtube channel.
This is the first time the FAA has issued such extreme fines to a drone pilot. In each video, the drone pilot is violating federal laws. It seems the penalties are so steep because the FAA is fining him as a Part 107 commercial drone pilot. After all, Mikey posts the videos to a monetized YouTube channel. Mikey does not have a Part 107 certificate and considers himself a recreational drone pilot.
Other drone videos on YouTube have sparked investigations by the FAA. In 2019, the FAA fined a drone pilot that flew over Las Vegas McCarran Airport with a $15,000 citation. The FAA also investigated a YouTuber and a drone pilot, going by the nickname BrandonON, after he uploaded videos with footage of his drone flying over Las Vegas landmarks such as: casinos, the famous stratosphere tower, hwy 10 and over the Vegas strip. The Las Vegas Metro PD won their first case in court against the drone pilot on July 15, 2019. The police charged the pilot a $1000 fee, confiscated his drone and put him on a 6-month probation.
According to DroneXL, the Philadelphia drone pilot has until December 05, 2020 to respond to the FAA letters. This poses questions about why the FAA is going after this drone pilot when so many other similar videos are posted on YouTube by drone pilots. The outcome of these charges and fines could impact other drone pilots. We will update this story as new information surfaces.
What are your thoughts on the FAA imposing this YouTuber with a $182,004 fine?