A Chinese tourist whose drone crashed after hitting the Taipei 101 building on Tuesday is to be fined NT$300,000 (US$9,538) for breaking the law, the Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) said yesterday.
The tourist, Yang Yunfan (楊雲帆), was questioned by aviation police officers on Wednesday night.
Police said the drone had hit the building’s 38th floor, which is about 114m above ground.
The Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) states that no flying object, including drones, kites, sky lanterns, fireworks and hot air balloons or any other floating object, is allowed to fly above 60m from the elevation of the airport in the area within 6km of the central line of the runway.
The Taipei 101 building is within 6km from the central line of the runway at the Taipei International Airport (Songshan airport), the agency said.
Given the airport’s elevation of 5.5m, no flying object is allowed to fly above 65.5m within the restricted zone, the agency said.
CAA chief secretary Ho Shu-ping (何淑萍) said that Yang had broken the rules on operating floating objects near airports and had been given seven days to respond in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act (行政程序法).
The Civil Aviation Act states that violators could face fines ranging from NT$300,000 to NT$1.5 million. Since this is a first-time violation, Yang would only be fined NT$300,000, Ho said.
Ho added that the government cannot prevent Yang from leaving the country if he chooses not to pay the fine. However, he would be barred from visiting Taiwan if he fails to do so.
This would be the second time that the agency issues a penalty for people breaking the ban on flying objects near the airport. On Wednesday, the CAA fined a person whose drone was found at the end of the runway at the Songshan airport last month.
In light of the recent incidents, the Executive Yuan convened a meeting yesterday to discuss issues relating to the management of remote-controlled vehicles.
Minister without Portfolio Yeh Shin-cheng (葉欣誠) said that the government should consider all possible uses of drones and the safety issues they might engender from the perspective of national security.
He said that the technology could be applied in disaster relief, crime prevention and for leisure purposes, but it could also be used to threaten aviation and public safety, as well invade personal privacy.
Some people might even turn drones into weapons, making them a major national security concern, he said.
“The fundamental principle is that there should be specific and clear regulations for every possible use of drones,” he said, adding that the CAA, the National Police Agency and the Ministry of Justice should draft relevant regulations and procedures that should be taken under various scenarios.
CAA Director-General Lin Tyh-ming (林志明) said that the government is considering allowing local governments to regulate drones weighing less than 25kg.
Owners of drones weighing more than 25kg would have to register them with the CAA, Lin said.
The first draft of the proposed regulations is expected to be completed by the middle of September, he said.
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