The state of North Dakota proudly considers themselves as first and foremost when it comes to drone technology. And right now, being one of the first states in the entire world to use what has now been dubbed the eye-in-the-sky technology, the state is looking to extend the reach of their drones beyond the shores of North Dakota and America in general, promising to provide help in form of drone loan to each and every country that so requires this service. This also means that North Dakota would be responsible for shipping such drones to such areas and they would supply the pilots that would man these device in the areas where they are being shipped to.
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Just this month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has given authority to the Northeast Region Unmanned Aircraft system unit in Grand Forks, which has given them the permission to fly to any location in all parts of the world, provided their services are needed in such places. This has also made this UAS region one of such that is capable of responding to distress calls from all over the world. Defining the kind of distresses, the Grand Forks’ unmanned aircraft unit can respond to calls of natural disasters, show up in crime scenes, and participate in missions that involve search parties to rescue missing or trapped people.
Alan Frazier, the chief pilot and architect of the unmanned aircraft program operating out of the Grand Forks unit, has said that the pilots belonging to the agency are very able and also willing to jump on any plane, which would also be packing their drone aboard.
“If there was a major disaster or a multi-day search for dangerous suspects like that, my guess is that the sheriff would approve that,” Frazier has said.
Ben Miller, who happens to be a board member for the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International and also founded the drone program, which is now running in the Mesa County sheriff department located in Colorado, has said that the pilots in Grand Forks would be the premier go-to people when it comes to help needed elsewhere besides the state itself. The county also houses one out of the total six drone test sites that are in the United States. Impressively, the county boasts of the first-ever unmanned aircraft tech park in the entire country.
“I think I can very confidently say that Grand Forks and Mesa counties lead the country in the use of UAVs in law enforcement. Grand Forks has done some fantastic things. I know those guys. I’ve trained those guys,” Miller said.
Miller has also stated that Grand Forks is unique in the sense that four of the pilots there have their own commercial licenses already, giving them legal authorization to fly their drones at night time and operate in some airspace, which is under certain restrictions to pilots who are yet to get their ratings. Among these restricted areas are airports. Currently, Grand Forks also happens to be one out of two state agencies in the entire country that have permission to fly their drones at night.