Potential for Drones in Grand County
The University of Colorado Boulder hosted a luncheon and drone presentation on Friday, September 23 at Adolf’s Event Center and Tavern in Winter Park.
Senator Randy Baumgardner hosted the event, which saw a crowd of about 45 people. Eric Frew, director of CU Boulder’s Research and Engineering Center for Unmanned Vehicles, gave a presentation about the potential drones have to help in areas such as search and rescue (SAR), the legality behind flying drones in public places, and some issues people see with drones. Frew discussed many difficulties that people have with drones regarding privacy, and said he is conscious of their concerns and respects them. Frew and his department have authority from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to fly drones almost anywhere on public lands and over properties, as long as they are not flying over people who are not involved in their studies. Frew also discussed the evolution of the current drone regulations, and how his department has had to adapt with ever changing drone regulations.
Frew discussed the potential drones have to help the community, especially in efforts such as SAR. Rescue missions often put many lives at risk, and drones could be used in a few different aspects of SAR including locating victims and bringing them supplies or communication devices.
CU Boulder students then gave a drone demonstration on the lawn behind Adolf’s where spectators got to see a drone fly first hand and the controls the pilots use to fly them.
Drones have been a controversial issue, especially at ski resorts. Many ski resorts adopt their own policies on unmanned aircrafts as the popularity of drones began to ride. According to Winter Park Resort, they prohibit the operation or use of unmanned aerial systems, or drones, by commercial and recreational users and hobbyists, without prior written authorization from Winter Park Resort representatives.
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