Feds propose new rules for operating drones

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FORT scientist and Raven-A sUAS pilot Leanne Hanson launches the drone in the San Luis Valley as part of an effort to monitor sandhill cranes. USGS photo.

FAA taking public comment for 60 days

Staff Report

FRISCO — With everyone from ski movie makers to wedding photographers and wildlife biologists getting in on the drone craze, the airspace above the U.S. is getting even more crowded.

To help manage the boom in the use of unmanned aircraft systems, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Federal Aviation Administration have released a new set of draft rules open for public comment. At the same time, the White House released a presidential memorandum that addresses civil rights and privacy issues associated with drone operations. Continue reading

Could drones help battle wildfires?

Test sites proposed to learn how drones could improve wildfire monitoring, mitigation, and containment

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Images taken from space can provide a lot of information about wildfires, but low-level flights by unmanned aircraft could help make firefighting safer and more efficient, some experts believe. This image of the West Fork Fire Complex in the San Juan Mountains of southern Colorado was taken June 26 from the International Space Station. Visit this NASA Earth Observatory page for more information about the image.

By Summit Voice

FRISCO — A pair of U.S. Senators wants to get a leg up on wildfires by spurring the use of unmanned surveillance aircraft to make firefighting efforts more efficient.

“Extreme wildfires have become an all too common occurrence in Colorado, leaving families without homes and hundreds of thousands of charred acreage in their paths,” said Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO). “We need to employ every tool available to help firefighters in their battles. This bipartisan amendment will help us develop UAS technology and teach us more about how they can strengthen our fights against wildfires more quickly and safely.”

Bennet (D-CO) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) this week introduced an amendment to create two additional test sites for unmanned aerial systems, with a focus on how they could be used for firefighting. Continue reading

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