What happened to Quinones is unique, as far as we know. But it shows how the FAA has struggled to keep up with the demand for drones. It was only last December when the FAA released regulations on basics such as drone registration, and by that point several states and municipalities had already created laws of their own.
The uniqueness of Quinones’ punishment is part of the problem. Sometimes drone hobbyists get fined for flying too close to sporting events and major public gatherings, like Quinones. The FAA claims public safety on fines like these. Same goes for commercial pilots. But never have the two have never been seen as interchangeable until now, and a suspension of a license stays with a pilot for life.
The FAA has is getting very good at physically identifying and stopping drones. But it’s clear that there’s some work to be done handling the invisible legal side.