Taitung County police on Friday seized an unregistered helicopter and held its owner for questioning on suspicion that he had been flying without a license, a prosecutor said on Saturday.
The owner, surnamed Chen (陳), was later released on NT$250,000 (US$8,627) bail, while the Robinson R22 Beta II helicopter found at his residence was seized, Taitung District Prosecutors’ Office prosecutor Tseng Yang-ling (曾揚嶺) said.
Chen denied flying the unregistered aircraft recently, as had been reported to the police, saying that he had not flown it since he learned that it was illegal to do so, Tseng said.
The investigation followed the Civil Aeronautics Administration’s (CAA) announcement on Tuesday last week of an air safety campaign targeting unregistered helicopters and light aircraft, as well as unlicensed pilots.
The CAA said that while there are no restrictions on the importation of helicopters, they must be registered and operated by licensed pilots.
There are no registered Robinson R22 helicopters in Taiwan, but about six or seven of the aircraft have recently been used for unauthorized flights, the agency said.
New Taipei City authorities last week seized one of the aircraft, which had been reported to have made unauthorized flights in the middle of last month, the CAA said.
With the help of the National Police Agency and local governments, the CAA said it is more strictly enforcing the Civil Aviation Act (民用航空法) and that prosecutors would seek heavy punishments against offenders.
However, it would offer assistance to aviation enthusiasts who come forward to obtain licenses and register their aircraft, the agency added.
Operating an unregistered aircraft or flying without a license can be punished by up to five years in prison and a fine of up to NT$1 million, according to the act.
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