FAA gives Arlington, Texas police permission to use UAVs

FAA gives Arlington, Texas police permission to use UAVs

 

Published 21 March 2013

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the Arlington (Texas) Police Department permission to use two small helicopter UAVs. The FAA did lay out a set of rules for the police department to follow when using the drones.

Arlington police test UAV in a designated testing area // Source: ozzmoe.com

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given the Arlington (Texas) Police Department permission to use two small helicopter UAVs. The FAA did lay out a set of rules for the police department to follow when using the drones.

Gizmagreports that the drones must be flown in the daytime, under 400 feet, in sight of the operator at all times, and a safety observer must be in contact with the control tower at Dallas-Fort Worth airport.

The drone being used by the department is the Leptron Avenger, designed by Leptron Industrial Helicopters. The drone is about five feet long and can stay in the air for about an hour. The Arlington Police originally purchased the drone with a DHS grant to provide extra security during the Super Bowl held at Cowboys Stadium in 2011.

According to Sergeant Christopher Cook, a representative of the Arlington Police department, the drones will only be used in situations in which a traditional manned helicopter would be used, and the drones will not be used for police pursuits or traffic enforcement. The drone could be used to take crime scene photos from above or in the search for a missing person.

“We basically have permission to operate our small helicopter program in certain areas of the City, generally south of Interstate Highway 30, once a clearly defined incident perimeter has been established,” Gizmag quotes Sergeant Cook to say. “We are working with our local airports which have airspace within the confines of the City of Arlington to create letters of agreement so there will be a seamless transition once a decision is made to deploy the equipment.”

More than eighty police departments around the country have applied to the FAA for permission to fly drones. Lawmakers in many are debating the issue of drone use by the police, with privacy rights organizations calling for state legislatures to impose restrictions on drone use.

Drones can be used for surveillance purposes, , and can also be used in search and rescue missions, to determine the severity of a fire, as well as search for missing or kidnapped people in heavily wooded areas. Drone are currently being used by scientists to get a better look at natural disasters such as tornados and hurricanes.

Views: 1102

Tags: Drone, FAA, Police


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on March 22, 2013 at 2:37pm

I can't believe how many companies there are attempting to sell pretty much standard hobby grade heli airframes with an autopilot for big dollars.

Comment by Jared S on March 22, 2013 at 2:38pm

Sounds like you should start a business.

Comment by Jesse on March 22, 2013 at 2:40pm

I'd understand the big dollars if they had documented evidence that the gear had been tested to commercial aircraft standards and passed, but I sincerely doubt they've done that... :-( 


Developer
Comment by Rob_Lefebvre on March 22, 2013 at 2:52pm

@Jared, I know... sort of working on it, but it's slow.  Day job always getting in the way.  I've got some pretty radical designs and ideas for a better mousetrap.

@Jesse, yeah, exactly.  Can you imagine crashing your $50,000 heli because a $0.12 Jesus bolt sheared off?

Comment by Chuck on March 22, 2013 at 2:57pm
They are essentially selling a support package with these units which is typically how they justify the cost. The same is found in many B to Gov/Big Biz products out there. They tend to be very needy so you bake insurance into the cost.
Comment by Jared S on March 22, 2013 at 3:20pm

@R_Lefebvre, you mean you need to an income? You don't work for free? Hmmm. Maybe the people selling these vehicles want to eat too. How many airframes will you need to sell, at the price you intend to sell, in order to quit your day job? Just how many airframes (of any cost) do you believe are sold to police each year?

How much do you think the $50,000 helicopter would cost if for every $0.12 bolt was custom designed, engineered, and machined out of titanium?

Comment by Jason on March 22, 2013 at 4:41pm

Chuck I have to disagree entirely. Of the 16 companies that are private selling to civil or government agencies, only two have built in support (and those were the sub 25k USD models. To prove a point in one of our demonstrations, we build a model Hexa that meets and exceeds many of the capabilities of a huge commercial offering. Our model cost 2148.00 USD with a SRT of 4,800.00 and the competitor's model sold for 60k USD!!!

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