Construction company fined for illegally operating drone
A construction company was fined $9,000 yesterday for illegally operating a drone outdoors without a permit.
This is the first case of its kind in Singapore.
The company, LT Sambo, was charged with one count of operating a small unmanned aircraft outdoors without a permit under the Air Navigation Order.
In November 2017, the police were alerted to a drone being operated along Marine Parade Road. The DJI Phantom 4, weighing about 1.4kg, was operated by Sambo's civil engineer, who landed it soon after the police arrived.
The matter was referred to the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).
Sambo had been engaged to carry out underground formation works for an MRT project along Marine Parade Road. Sambo had successfully applied for a drone operator permit that was issued in August 2017.
The following month, Sambo submitted an application to CAAS for an activity permit to operate the drone along Marine Parade Road.
This was to capture aerial footage of the road for Sambo's construction work plan.
Sambo had also provided CAAS with its proposed flight plan.
On Sept 28, Sambo was informed by CAAS that the proposed flight involved flying the drone over a public road with a high concentration of human and vehicular traffic.
It also posed additional potential risks of damage to property and personal safety, and comprehensive risk mitigating measures would be required before an activity permit could be granted.
Sambo did not come up with any such measures and was not granted a permit, but it still operated the drone in November.
Before the police arrived, Sambo's civil engineer had already made two flights of about 20 minutes each.
On each flight, the drone was flown over an approximately 2km stretch of Marine Parade Road at the maximum height of the fourth storey of the HDB blocks in the area.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Tan Yanying asked for a fine of $10,000, stating that the area is a major traffic road and serves a densely populated area.
And given the rising popularity of and easy access to unmanned aircraft by the general public, it was necessary to safeguard public safety and security, DPP Tan said.